IELTS Writing Task 2 #226

Tip for IELTS Writing

For any IELTS essay, planning is very important. One of the first stages of planning is to think about the question and make a list of possible arguments you could include. In this case, the list should include potential advantages and disadvantages of having a free health service. Because you will need to explain and develop the ideas you choose, you probably will not be able to include all of the ideas in your final essay. However, making a list like this helps you decide which points/arguments are most relevant to your answer and therefore could help you improve your Task Achievement score.

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

In many societies in the world, the population is ageing rapidly and this is leading to an unsustainable increase in the cost of public healthcare.

A nation’s population should pay for their healthcare provision in the future.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Model answer

Advances in medical science are resulting in prolonged lifespans but there is a knock-on effect for public health services with many hospitals struggling to cope with an aging populace. Many countries enjoy the benefits of free or subsidised national public health services. However, there are some within senior health management who claim that such provision will become unsustainable, and I firmly agree that changes need to be made in order to reflect this changing reality.

Despite the notion that healthcare should be ‘free’, such care is predominantly funded by the taxpayer. To give a specific example, a recent report in my country established that almost 40% of the nation’s tax spending is distributed to healthcare and some 80% of that figure is reserved for treating the elderly. This is a disproportionate amount of money which has greatly increased the burden on the state and existing funding is no longer sufficient to meet these needs. This is turn impacts on the standard of care that can be provided as shown by numerous negative media reports about the conditions for both staff and patients. If we want quality healthcare then, clearly this financial burden needs to be alleviated.

One way to do so would be to increase the contributions made by citizens through increased taxation. Alternatively, governments could encourage those who can afford it to take up private healthcare arrangements. By switching to a private model, the well-off can afford a higher quality of care, while at the same relieving pressure on public services for those who do not have the means to go private.

One thing is for certain, an ageing population has increased the pressure on existing health provision. If we are going to maintain the standards of healthcare that we are used to, more funding needs to be found either through taxation and alternative forms of provision should be considered. Otherwise, standards will fall and people’s lives will be put at risk.

(323 words)