Journal Article

Community participation in a rural community health trust: the case of Lawrence, New Zealand

Rachel Eyre and Robin Gauld

in Health Promotion International

Volume 18, issue 3, pages 189-197
Published in print September 2003 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online September 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
Community participation in a rural community health trust: the case of Lawrence, New Zealand

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Since the mid-1980s, the New Zealand health sector has been in a state of continual change. The most radical changes were in the early-1990s, with the creation of an internal market system for public health care delivery. Rural health services, seen to be unviable, were given the option of establishing themselves as ‘community trusts’, owning and running their own services. Community trusts have since become a feature of rural health care in New Zealand. An expectation was that community trusts would facilitate community participation. This article reports on a study of participation in a rural community health trust. The ‘pentagram model’ of Rifkin and coworkers, with its five dimensions of participation—needs assessment, leadership, resource mobilization, management and organization—was applied. High levels of participation were found across each of these dimensions. The research revealed additional dimensions that could be added to the framework, including ‘sustainability of participation’, ‘equity in participation’ and ‘the dynamic socio-political context’. In this regard, it supports recent theoretical work by Laverack (2001) and Laverack and Wallerstein (2001). Finally, the article comments on the future of rural health trusts in the current round of health sector restructuring.

Keywords: community participation; measurement; New Zealand; rural health

Journal Article.  4366 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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