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Social Partnership and Political Devolution in the National Health Service: Emergence, Operation and Outcomes

Bacon, N. and Samuel, P. (2017). Social Partnership and Political Devolution in the National Health Service: Emergence, Operation and Outcomes. Work, Employment and Society, 31(1), pp. 123-141. doi: 10.1177/0950017015616910

Abstract

This article explores the emergence, operation and outcomes of social partnership in the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland and Wales. Social partnership emerged in the NHS following political devolution in 1998 which transferred powers to left-wing governments in Scotland and Wales. These arrangements helped improve health services, modernise industrial relations and enhance staff terms and conditions. In NHS Scotland, union participation in strategic decisions produced extensive co-operation to dismantle the internal health market, improve services, and enhance staff terms and conditions. Union participation in NHS Wales was restricted to discussing workforce issues, and although co-operation increased when Welsh governments gained enhanced legislative powers and dismantled the internal health market, it delivered fewer improvements in service and pay levels. Differences in government political positioning (against public sector marketisation) and degree of independence (with devolved administrations granted different legislative powers) help explain the operation and outcomes of social partnership.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage 2016
Publisher Keywords: partnership, trade unions, devolution, NHS, public sector, industrial relations, modernisation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Departments: Cass Business School > Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/12620
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