Bringing Social Movement Theory to Healthcare Practice in the English National Health Service*

Paul Bate and Glenn Robert

in Social Movements and the Transformation of American Health Care

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780195388299
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866519 | DOI:
Bringing Social Movement Theory to Healthcare Practice in the English National Health Service*

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This chapter translates social movement theory into an organizational change intervention designed to improve patient services. The paper describes how the authors' team from University College London came together with the English National Health Service (NHS) staff in a unique five‐year collaboration to apply social movement principles to the challenge of bringing about major healthcare reform. The collaboration went through five stages on its journey from concept to implementation: (1) an initial period of evidence gathering and literature review; (2) a series of conferences and workshops exploring the relevance and application of social movement ideas to healthcare reform; (3) field testing of change interventions within four pilot NHS organizations; (4) the launch of a revised model to a larger group of twelve NHS organizations with an identifiable “cause”; and (5) evaluation with a sample of those who attended events to ascertain what happened as they implemented plans. This chapter critically considers the relevance and utility of social movement theories for health practitioners, a comparison between the social movement lenses and organizational change theories commonly used by health providers, and discussion of practical issues arising during implementation of social movement activity within a large formal organization.

Keywords: National Health Service; United Kingdom health care; social movements; organizational change intervention; organizational development

Chapter.  10165 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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