Critical to Care: The Invisible Women in Health Services.


228 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-8020-9333-7
DDC 305.43'6107370971




Reviewed by Ginette Michel


Illustrating the link between elements of power and economic control sets the basis for understanding the context of developments in the provision of health care services. The authors quickly point out that the current data available on the marginalized labour force that makes up the whole is useful, but grossly inadequate in providing a true picture of ancillary workers and their contributions. The well-structured interviews of various ancillary workers provide the reader with a more personal understanding of the mindset of these individuals as they provide a subjective account of their work. It becomes clear, despite analysis by various agencies, that ancillary work remains ill-defined, continuously evolving and without definite borders to validate its worth in a global fashion. Like those recipients of care and their needs it remains unpredictable, and thus difficult to attach an economic value to. Yet it is impossible to negate that it is invaluable to the provision of good health care. More than the medical curative approach involving surgical/medical interventions and technology, the quality and accessibility of health services are recognized as greater determinants of health. Education and environmental well-being, both for the workers and those receiving those services, must become a greater focus for those involved in shaping today’s health care system.


This book is a good starting point for further discussions on women and health. The reflections are descriptive, and the authors’ include sufficient facts and data to provide validity to their points of view. It definitely is a window into ancillary work and what many still consider women’s work.


Armstrong, Pat, Hugh Armstrong, and Krista Scott-Dixon., “Critical to Care: The Invisible Women in Health Services.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 17, 2024,