Making an original contribution to debates on health policy, this accessible and engaging book critically examines the future of health care and public health policy from the perspective of users and citizens. Consumerism, partnerships with patients and user involvement are seen as key to future health care and healthy public policies. The book outlines how individuals as patients, healthy people and research subjects relate to health services and how the public, as citizens, influence health care and public policies at local, national and international levels.

Taking over

Taking over

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernard Shaw Man and Superman (1903)

There is no consensus about how health services should be organized or funded. Should taxation be increased, insurance schemes set up as in other European countries or should services provided by the NHS be restricted? The ‘visions’ that abound are often exercises in thinking the ‘unthinkable’ and moving away from consensus, rather than building on it. Gradually the unthinkable becomes acceptable. The lack of shared values in health policy results in a worried and disgruntled public, low morale among staff, and indecision in health service management. This inevitably affects ...

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