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Partnership working in public health

Partnership working in public health

David J. Hunter
Neil Perkins
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  • Book Info
    Partnership working in public health
    Book Description:

    The UK government’s reforms of the NHS and public health system require partnerships if they are to succeed. Those partnerships concerned with public health are especially important and are deemed to be a ’good thing’ which add, rather than consume, value. Yet the significant emphasis on partnership working to secure effective policy and service delivery exists despite the evidence testifying to how difficult it is to make partnerships work or achieve results. Partnership working in public health presents the findings from a detailed study of public health partnerships in England. The lessons from the research are used to explore the government’s changes in public health now being implemented, most of which centre on new partnerships called Health and Wellbeing Boards that have been established to work differently from their predecessors.The book assesses their likely impact and the implications for the future of public health partnerships. Drawing on systems thinking, it argues that partnerships can only succeed if they work in quite different ways. The book will therefore appeal to the public health community and students of health policy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0133-2
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. List of tables and boxes
    (pp. iv-iv)
  4. List of abbreviations
    (pp. v-v)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-vii)
    David J. Hunter and Neil Perkins
  6. About the authors
    (pp. viii-viii)
  7. Series editors’ foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Stephen Peckham and David J. Hunter

    Health systems are changing rapidly in response to new threats to population health from lifestyle diseases, long-term conditions and the global effects of climate change and sustainable development. Public health as a set of skills to improve health and with its focus on the health of communities rather than individuals is at the forefront of current health and health care policy and practice. In England, public health is going through a major reorganisation with local public health functions now returned to local authorities after nearly 40 years of being part of the National Health Service (NHS) and a new national...

  8. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    Little is currently known about public health partnerships, despite the fact that collaborative working is a key competency of public health practice and partnerships are still high on the policy agenda. This book draws on primary research reviewing public health partnerships, as well as on other research on partnership working more broadly. Our purpose is to establish how successful partnerships are in contributing to improved health and well-being outcomes. It is an under-explored topic in the academic literature and our intention in writing this book is to add to the evidence base while also explaining why it is difficult in...

  9. TWO Theories and concepts of partnerships
    (pp. 19-52)

    Partnerships, whether of the public–public or public–private variety, have become thesine qua nonof British public policy, especially since the late 1990s, and, as Balloch and Taylor (2001b, p 2) state of partnership working, it is ‘a term that commands widespread support across the political spectrum’. However, working in partnership is not a recent phenomenon. Powell and Glendinning (2002) argue that partnerships have been a feature of public policy since the 1601 Poor Law, and Hudson et al (1999) note that in their 1909 Minority Report to the Poor Law Commission, social reformers Sidney and Beatrice Webb...

  10. THREE Public health partnerships: what’s the prognosis?
    (pp. 53-72)

    This chapter reports on a systematic literature review of public health partnerships in England between 1997 and 2010 under the auspices of three Labour governments. The review was undertaken as the first stage of the National Institute for Health Research Service Delivery and Organisation (NIHR SDO) (now Health Services & Delivery Research) programme study.

    As we explained in the last chapter, partnership working was a central feature of New Labour’s approach to the delivery of health and social policy after 1997. A number of partnership-based initiatives centred on reducing health inequalities and improving health. Based on the literature review, which...

  11. FOUR The view from the bridge: senior practitioners’ views on public health partnerships
    (pp. 73-102)

    In this chapter, we consider the views of senior practitioners and their perceptions of the effectiveness and efficacy of public health partnerships. This grouping includes Directors of Public Health (DsPH), Directors of Commissioning, Councillors and other senior public health practitioners.

    The research was conducted in nine locations in England between 2008 and 2010. Nine case study sites were selected according to the strength of partnership working – high, medium, low – with three sites in each category. The sample of field study sites was chosen in consultation with members of the Local Government Improvement and Development (LGID) (formerly the Improvement and Development...

  12. FIVE The view from the front line: practitioners’ views on public health partnerships
    (pp. 103-134)

    This chapter focuses upon the research findings of the second phase of the study with front-line practitioners and service users. The interviews were based on the selection of four ‘tracer issues’ in four of the nine locations reported on in the previous chapter. Topics were chosen that were of high priority in those areas’ Local Area Agreements (LAAs), namely: obesity (site 2); alcohol misuse (site 1); teenage pregnancy (site 4); and smoking cessation (site 3). These public health issues have been identified in order to explore through interviews with front-line staff and focus groups of service users their perceptions of...

  13. SIX The changing policy context: new dawn or poisoned chalice?
    (pp. 135-164)

    Over the period covered by this book, between the late 1990s and 2012, health policy has been in a state of perpetual change. This is less true elsewhere in the UK than in England, where there has been a rapid succession of policy and organisational changes, initially under the Labour government (1997–2010) and then under the Coalition government (from 2010 to the present). In the other countries making up the UK, with the arrival of devolution at the close of the 1990s, the three countries (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have adopted different models and a different pace of...

  14. SEVEN Conclusion: the future for public health partnerships
    (pp. 165-176)

    Partnerships have never been out of vogue in UK public policy – and certainly not in recent times – but the need for them has arguably never been greater. This poses something of a paradox, with which our study has been concerned. The silo-based departmental culture and character of the UK, but especially English, system of government at both national and local levels has triggered a continuing interest in partnerships to overcome the worst effects of working in silos. However, few partnerships have succeeded altogether in overcoming the silo effect or departmentalism mindset. For the most part, partnerships represent another layer of...

  15. References
    (pp. 177-192)
  16. Index
    (pp. 193-199)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 200-200)