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  • Author or Editor: David J. Hunter x
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Recent years have witnessed a growing concern in the NHS to devise and implement policies which explicitly recognise that certain client groups and services should receive a higher priority. The paper points to problems arising from the formulation and implementation of the Scottish health priorities documents, drawing where appropriate on related developments in England. Three areas are highlighted for analysis: the policy ambiguity inherent in the documents; problems of collaboration in implementing the policies; and problems posed by central-local relations. The paper concludes that there is a need for a more sophisticated response to the present fiscal squeeze than simply defending the status quo and suggests that the squeeze could provide the necessary stimulus for change.

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Partnership working has been a central feature of New Labour's approach to the delivery of health and social policy since 1997. A number of partnership-based initiatives have centred on reducing health inequalities and improving health. This article reports on the findings from a systematic review of the impact of partnership working on public health, and considers whether these partnerships have delivered better health outcomes for local/target populations. It finds that there is little evidence that partnerships have produced better health outcomes for local/target populations or reduced health inequalities.

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Worldwide, policymakers, health system managers, practitioners and researchers struggle to use evidence to improve policy and practice. There is growing recognition that this challenge relates to the complex systems in which we work. The corresponding increase in complexity-related discourse remains primarily at a theoretical level. This paper moves the discussion to a practical level, proposing actions that can be taken to implement evidence successfully in complex systems. Key to success is working with, rather than trying to simplify or control, complexity. The integrated actions relate to co-producing knowledge, establishing shared goals and measures, enabling leadership, ensuring adequate resourcing, contributing to the science of knowledge-to-action, and communicating strategically.

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