It is widely recognized that chronic illnesses pose significant challenges for health care systems around the world. In response, most governments have set health policies in order to manage (or better, reduce) demand and improve the health of their populations. A discourse analysis of four policy documents that shape these strategies in New Zealand reveals that the policies construct the chronically ill as “others,” that is, as deviant or different from the “normal” population. The discourse further serves to blame the chronically ill both for being sick, and for placing a serious financial burden on society. We identify problems that arise from this discourse. They relate to (a) the fact that chronic illnesses are so prevalent, (b) the fallacy of categorizing all chronic illnesses as the same,(c) tensions between a blaming discourse and current clinical best practice directions, and (d) a lack of recognition of the wider social factors that impact on health.
- 1a Graduate School of Nursing Midwifery and Health , Victoria University of Wellington.
- 2b Instituto de Alta Investigación , Universidad de Tarapacá
Health Commun. 2015 Sep 30:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]