Michael Calnan (University of Kent, UK)

Health Policy, Power and Politics: Sociological Insights

ISBN: 978-1-83909-397-5, eISBN: 978-1-83909-394-4

Publication date: 6 April 2020


Calnan, M. (2020), "Prelims", Health Policy, Power and Politics: Sociological Insights, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-vii.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020 Michael Calnan

Half Title

Health Policy, Power and Politics

Sociological Insights

Praise for Health Policy, Power and Politics

‘Professor Calnan is very well qualified to write on health policy, power and politics in the UK, in which he has a national and international reputation. This book is solidly grounded on his recent teaching and distinctively and revealingly adopts a sociological perspective in addressing several key facets of the UK policy agenda. It provides important insights for all those interested in this agenda in a range of cognate fields – from professionalism and public engagement to mental health policy and social inequalities.’

Mike Saks, Emeritus Professor, University of Suffolk

‘Health Policy, Power and Politics is an excellent book ideal for students undertaking health policy modules. It is effectively a course text in its own right, one that clearly draws on Michael Calnan’s years of teaching, researching and writing on and around this topic. Indeed, this strength also makes the book a most useful resource for the post-graduate student and researcher.

What is particularly distinctive about this book is its critical sociological approach, one that is well grounded in recent research. It gives comprehensive coverage and analysis of all the key challenges for health policy particularly relating to the English NHS. The book’s importance, for me, is its clear-headed, critical and theoretically based analysis of policies that are too often treated too prescriptively; whether we are talking about hospital performance, professional governance, patient choice, or digitalization, or any of the other topics in this text.

While predominately NHS focused the book does place this institution within an international context, for example, critically comparing NHS performance internationally. This is no mere ‘add-on’ but integral to the book’s review and analysis of health policy, power and politics today.

Given the fast changing policy environment we are now in, I would expect a revised, updated version will be needed fairly quickly, certainly following the 2019 general election. But even so, the essential analyses and evidence provided will, if anything, be likely to become of greater pertinence than before.’

Mike Dent, Emeritus Professor, Staffordshire University

Title Page

Health Policy, Power and Politics

Sociological Insights

Michael Calnan

University of Kent, UK

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

Copyright Page

Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2020

Copyright © 2020 Michael Calnan

Published under an exclusive licence

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No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without either the prior written permission of the publisher or a licence permitting restricted copying issued in the UK by The Copyright Licensing Agency and in the USA by The Copyright Clearance Center. Any opinions expressed in the chapters are those of the authors. Whilst Emerald makes every effort to ensure the quality and accuracy of its content, Emerald makes no representation implied or otherwise, as to the chapters’ suitability and application and disclaims any warranties, express or implied, to their use.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-83909-397-5 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-83909-394-4 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-83909-396-8 (Epub)


Acknowledgements vii
An Introduction 1
Chapter 1. Continuity or Change? Organisational Developments in the National Health Service 7
Chapter 2. Medical Professionalism and its Reconfiguration 21
Chapter 3. A Responsive Health Service? Patient Choice, Public Involvement and Co-Production 35
Chapter 4. Rationing, Regulating and Big Pharma 55
Chapter 5. Mental Health Policy and an Epidemic of Misery 73
Chapter 6. Framing Health Policy in the Media 87
Chapter 7. The Widening in Social Inequalities in Health but the Narrowing of Policy 103
Chapter 8. Environment, Place and Health Policy 119
A Conclusion 135
References 143
Index 163


This book is based on undergraduate and postgraduate teaching that I have carried out over the last 10 years in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent, and I would like to thank all the students for their contributions over the years to the discussion and analysis of the themes covered in this book. This book also draws on evidence from a number of research projects which I have been involved with in recent years, so I would also like to thank those who I have collaborated with for their respective contributions. Thanks to the three anonymous reviewers who provided constructive comments on the proposal for this book. Finally, thanks must go to my partner Sian for her continued support and encouragement in helping ensure that I completed the work on time.

Michael Calnan, January 2020