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The Politics of Health Care: Achieving Real Reform

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The Politics of Health Care: Achieving Real Reform

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Practical, real-world advice on healthcare reform.


Healthcare is often referred to as a complex environment and managing in this environment does not have direct parallels in any other industry or sector. The complexity of health systems arises not because of the structure of healthcare, but because of the myriad of complex relationships between the various stakeholders in health. The successful healthcare policy maker, manager or clinical professional must be able to navigate through this maze, strategizing, negotiating, persuading, motivating, empowering, and making some tough decisions along the way.

The recognition that academic models need to be complemented by context-specific pragmatic approaches (some of which can only emerge from experience) is a prime motivation for this book. The contributors are highly regarded individuals with considerable experience of bringing about change in the health sector. Previous works in the area have done a good job of laying out some of the key problems of Irish healthcare but are less inclined to consider how these problems might be overcome. Theory-led accounts of how to change things for the better can fall on barren soil when the reader finds that they are based on an idealised world that bears little resemblance to what they see piled up in their in-tray. This book distils some of the collective experience that exists within and around the Irish healthcare system on how to push for change and how to deal with some of the obstacles one inevitably meets.


  1. Thinking and Acting in Healthcare Eilish McAuliffe and Kenneth McKenzie
  2. Steering a Policy Course Michael Kelly, Chairman of the Higher Education Authority and Former Secretary General, Department of Health and Children
  3. Changing the Way We Do Things John Owens, Chairman of the Mental Health Commission and Consultant Psychiatrist
  4. Knowledge for Health Ruth Barrington, Former Chief Executive, Health Research Board
  5. Culture Shift through Policy Change Fenton Howell, Public Health Specialist, HSE North East and Shane Allwright, Associate Professor, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Trinity College Dublin
  6. Balancing Accountability and Responsibility Frank Ahern, Former Assistant Secretary, Department of Health and Children
  7. Finding Common Ground Matt Merrigan, National Industrial Secretary, SIPTU
  8. Professional Evolution Anne Scott, Head of the School of Nursing and Deputy President of Dublin City University
  9. Spotlighting Health Aileen O'Meara, Independent journalist and media consultant, formerly RTEs chief health correspondent
  10. Citizen Participation in Healthcare Fergus O Ferrall, Chairman of the Adelaide Society
  11. Effecting Change in Healthcare Kenneth McKenzie and Eilish McAuliffe

About the Editors

Eilish McAuliffe is a senior lecturer in Health Policy and Management at Trinity College Dublin and is also Director of the Masters in Health Services Management. Kenneth McKenzie is a researcher in the UCD Geary Institute and a Research Associate in the School of Psychology, TCD.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Author No
Editor Eilish McAulliffe, Kenneth McKenzie
Print Format Paperback
ISBN-10 1905785216
ISBN-13 978-1-905785-21-6
Illustrations No
Date of Publication September 2007
Number of Pages 240

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