In the UK, Health and Social Care is a broad term that relates to integrated services that are available from health and social care providers. As a subject discipline, Health and Social Care (H&SC) combines elements of sociology, biology, nutrition, law, and ethics. Typically, students of Health and Social Care will have a work placement alongside their academic studies; such a placement may take place in a nursery, residential home, hospital, or other caring establishment. Others may take a health and social care course as a route to further qualifications hoping that it will lead to employment within the sector.
As well as all the illnesses and health problems dealt with by people such asdoctors and nurses, life often presents many people with occasions when adifferent type of help is needed. Examples of this include emotional problems,such as depression which can be caused by unemployment, poverty, thebreakup of a close relationship or stress from illnesses and/or physicalproblems. This is where social careers and social workers provide support.The phrase ‘Health & Social Care’ reflects the language of contemporary Government thinking about integrated health, well-being and welfare policy and service systems at local, regional, national and international levels.
As contemporary Government policy seeks to increasingly improve the health of the nation, and to shift from reactive treatment towards prevention, then opportunities are emerging for new workers in the fields of health promotion, nutrition, diet, lifestyles, exercise, alcohol and drugs use, sexual health, social care and advocacy within the context of social cohesion and social inclusion objectives. The goal of independent living with dignity and choice for people with disabilities, learning disabilities, and mental health issues and for an ageing population requires a range of new professionals able to work across the Health and Social Care structures.
The biological aspect of H&SC is vital: with many careers it will form the most important area of their knowledge. Health and social care workers need to be aware of how people grow and develop physically, and they may also be required to study a range ofillnesses and treatments.This may include the study of public health, and public health campaigns; for example, the effects ofsmoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise, to name a few.