Through out one's medical curriculum and career, one is faced with different definitions for the term "Health", which is a compromise between the public and the professional's expectations of what the healthcare should deliver.
The differing aspects of health reflect on the different roles that a doctor has to play in the delivery of healthcare. Publication of Tomorrow's doctors by the GMC and the NHS plan by the department of health set out the shift towards being patient orientated and illustrate the need to change the approach to patient management on the whole.
From considering the patient as biomedical model only, the doctors are now faced with a bio-psychosocial model which is more complex and elusive than the previous model entailed. Psychosocial aspect of a patient is diverse; the factors that contribute to this model are at an infinitum. Diversity contributes to the differences in experience of one's life and illness. Treating the patient in a bio-psychosocial context, the physician needs to understand the uniqueness of his patient's experience. .
Socioeconomic status, immigration, geographical variation and individuality meant that there are occasions when a common ground doesn't exist between the patient and the doctor to build a relationship on.
Arts and humanities is the expression of individuality. The variations that contribute to ones individuality is expressed via these creative routes. .
As Calman's paper (1997) describes "(literature) goes further, using insights of the author to particularise individuals or events in a way that adds colour, depth, and feeling." .
In the quest to gain an understanding of one psychosocial model, a doctor can not, feasibly, enter every patients mentality and still retain objectivity to treat the biomedical model. Arts and Humanities provide an external common ground, on which strangers can come and have their individuality expressed and understood.