This new textbook opens up the policy-making process for students, uncovering how government decisions around health are really made. Starting from more traditional insights into how ministers and civil servants develop policy with limited knowledge and money, the book goes on to challenge the conception of policy as a rational process, revealing it to be something quite different.
Knee-jerk reactions to disasters, keeping voters satisfied, the powerful leverage of interest groups, and the skewing of debate through ideology and the media are each considered in turn. These processes render policy far from rational or at least require a much broader approach for considering policy 'logic', one that is open to different rationalities of values, norms and pragmatism. The book draws on historical and contemporary examples to highlight that though challenges to policy-makers may seem in some ways novel, in many senses key processes endure and indeed are rooted in historical contexts. Although the examples are drawn from UK health and social care, the book's theory-driven approach is applicable across national contexts ð especially for countries where uncertainty, risk and resource pressures create significant dilemmas for policy-makers.
The book's multi-perspective, thematic approach will be especially relevant to students, as will the broad range of case study examples used. Making Health Policy will be essential reading for students of health policy, social policy, social work, and the sociology of medicine, health and illness.