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Title: The challenge of improving connections between health services and communities: understanding mechanisms and generating evidence
Author: South, Jane
ISNI:       0000 0001 2447 7581
Awarding Body: Leeds Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Leeds Beckett University
Date of Award: 2008
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Public policy on community involvement since 1997 has provided UK health services with a clear mandate for change and opportunities for innovation. The challenge of moving community involvement beyond the level of rhetoric to mainstream practice is explored in a series of published works provided to support this submission. The focus is on engagement mechanisms at the public interface between services and communities. It is argued that this area, whilst being under-researched, is critical to understanding the acknowledged implementation gap. The published works examine change mechanisms with the potential to initiate and support better connections between organisations and lay people. A further theme concerns the generation of evidence on community involvement. Arguments reflect the progression from initial research questions embedded within commissioned research to critical analysis of models. The accompanying synthesis appraises evidence emerging from an evaluation of a health action zone team. This is followed by critical discussion of a series of evaluations of innovative programmes, including the Patient Advice and Liaison Service, health trainers and arts for health. The central argument is that differences in operational models do not explain shifts in organisational practice, instead connecting themes illuminate the importance of organisations adopting an external orientation and being able to foster networks. The utility of social entrepreneurship is examined, as is the value of roles bridging organisational boundaries. The evidence presented is underpinned by a robust discussion of the role of evaluation for learning and the adoption of appropriate methodologies. The significance of an evaluation framework for the measurement of community involvement is highlighted. Overall it is argued that the body of work presented has made a unique contribution to the development of professional and research practice locally and nationally, and has also furthered understandings of mechanisms to bridge the implementation gap and measure progress
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available