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Publics, patients, citizens, consumers ? power and decision making in primary health care.

Callaghan, G. and Wistow, G. (2006) 'Publics, patients, citizens, consumers ? power and decision making in primary health care.', Public administration., 84 (3). pp. 583-601.


This article uses theoretical approaches to the discussion of power in order to consider the role of public and patient participation in primary health care organizations in the UK. There is considerable evidence to suggest that, despite major national initiatives to extend participation in health services, the role of participation in decision making remains underdeveloped. The primary purpose of this article is to understand how and why this should be the case. Using findings from qualitative research that explored approaches taken by the dominant professional groups on primary care groups (PCGs) to involving patients and the public, we consider how these approaches reflect the exercise of different forms and levels of power. The explanation combines Lukes' categorization of three forms of power with Bourdieu's dynamic conceptualization of the relations of habitus and field. It is argued that the models observed represent different opportunities for the operation of power with implications for the role that participation can play.

Item Type:Article
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Record Created:07 Aug 2008
Last Modified:17 Aug 2011 09:38

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