Looking at the current turmoil facing contemporary healthcare systems worldwide, resulting from relentless imposition of financially-based performance indicators, the author argues that a return to a values-based approach to healthcare will create positive transformation. Writing from the fresh perspective of social anthropology, the author takes a highly pragmatic approach to practice, emphasizing the importance of values such as compassion, solidarity and social justice. He suggests that without being able clearly to identify the values and goals that unite their members, healthcare organizations are unlikely to be able to meet the demands of the constant and varied pressures they face, and explains how individuals at every level in healthcare can contribute in practical ways to positive change within their organizations. This much-needed and very accessible book will be essential reading for anyone interested in a better approach to healthcare reform, from clinicians and nurses, to managers and policy makers, as well as the interested reader.
Gerald A. Arbuckle, PhD, is a Cambridge University trained anthropologist and a cultural and organisational consultant to public and private healthcare systems in the United States, Canada, and Australia. A former director of the national board of St Vincent's Health, Australia, he was appointed in 2008 by the Government of New South Wales to the Independent Panel to oversee the reform of the state's public hospital system. During 2010 he worked at Campion Hall, Oxford University, researching issues confronting the National Health Service in England. In 2011 he gave the Martin D'Arcy Memorial Lectures at Oxford University upon which this book is based. Gerald lives in Sydney, Australia.