This paper discusses the contribution of organizational political perspectives to a better appreciation of policy implementation problems in health care. The context is the efforts of successive British governments to accord a higher priority to community health and long-stay services. The limited success of these policies owes much to continuing medical control of the philosophy of the organization and agenda, in spite of government responsibility for funding and providing health services. More effective policy implementation depends on a recognition of the “naturalness” of organizational politics, rather than treating them as constraints in an otherwise rational, managerial system.

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