Following the policy pathway: the impact of policy processes on children's access to healthcare in rural Australia

Julaine Allan, Patrick Ball, Margaret Alston

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Abstract

Children are deserving targets of healthcare policy. However, to make a difference to children's lives, health and welfare policy goals have to be translated into services. For children and families living in small Australian rural communities, access to assistance and support from health services is dependent on the administrative and technical detail of health policy. This paper reports the findings of a case study investigating health care in two small rural towns in New South Wales. The study takes a pragmatic and practical approach to identifying the impact of policy intent on improving the health of rural children. The study identified the way policy goals are translated into practice by interviewing three distinct groups; policy makers, policy implementers and policy recipients. The research found that health policy was not well costed, implemented or available to children who lived outside regional or metropolitan areas. There were limited avenues for children, parents or health workers to influence the policy development or implementation process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Child Health and Human Development
Volume2
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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health policy
health
rural community
development policy
social policy
agglomeration area
pragmatics
health service
parents
assistance
recipient
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health care
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abstract = "Children are deserving targets of healthcare policy. However, to make a difference to children's lives, health and welfare policy goals have to be translated into services. For children and families living in small Australian rural communities, access to assistance and support from health services is dependent on the administrative and technical detail of health policy. This paper reports the findings of a case study investigating health care in two small rural towns in New South Wales. The study takes a pragmatic and practical approach to identifying the impact of policy intent on improving the health of rural children. The study identified the way policy goals are translated into practice by interviewing three distinct groups; policy makers, policy implementers and policy recipients. The research found that health policy was not well costed, implemented or available to children who lived outside regional or metropolitan areas. There were limited avenues for children, parents or health workers to influence the policy development or implementation process.",
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