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Written by Simon Neby   
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 10:32
The 3rd Nordic Workshop on Health Management and Organization: Between Public and Private - Healthcare Systems in Transition

The 3rd Nordic Workshop on Health Management and Organization with the title: Between Public and Private - Healthcare Systems in Transition took place in Uppsala December 4-5, 2008. The workshop attracted approximately 60 participants from mostly the Nordic countries, but we were also happy to attract researchers from the UK, USA, Germany and Canada.

The private-public divide is one of history’s fundamental dichotomies and concerns many aspects of human life. The distinction between public and private in health care was recently brought to the fore through the introduction of the New Public Management reforms in the 1990s. But the public – private theme has continued to be omnipresent and concerns a multitude of issues including ownership and organizational forms, control, responsibility and transparency of healthcare entities, professional work and outcomes. It also concerns patients’ rights and responsibilities and spans over different levels of governance and over national boundaries. In some areas the dividing line is becoming increasingly blurred, while it in other areas may be reinforced and/or transferred.

The ambition was to pick up on and more in depth elaborate and discuss some of these different themes and complexities during the group sessions. Papers were therefore presented and discussed in three separate streams: 1 “Private and public in new constellations: What happened after the NPM-reforms?” (convenors: Maria Blomgren, Anders Forssell, Ulrika Winblad); 2 “Accounting, transparency and professions” (convenors: Charlotta Levay, Cecilia Lindholm, Caroline Waks); 3 “Organizing bodies: changing boundaries between private concerns and public matters?” (convenors: Robert McMurray, Ebba Sjögren).

We were also very fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to three invited guests/keynote speakers. The workshop was opened with Professor Kerstin Sahlin (Uppsala University) who gave a much appreciated talk on “Public and Private: Distinctions, boundaries, relations and implications for governance”. After lunch we had the pleasure to listen to Professor Jon Pierre from the University of Gothenburg who gave a talk with the title: “Public-Private Interaction: Why, Why Not and Why we should be concerned”. the workshop’s second day started with Professor Bengt Jacobsson (Södertörn University Collage) who did a great job presenting the edited volume Mellan offentligt och privat: om styrning, praktik och intressen i hälso- och sjukvården (Editors: Kajsa Lindberg and Maria Blomgren). The book contained contributions from several of the participants of the workshop and was given to the participants of the workshop.

Besides the academic discussions about public and private in healthcare during the joint and group sessions, we also hope that the workshop provided opportunity to meet old friends, to get to know new ones, to network and form new working alliances. As far as we could see, there were quite lively discussions during lunches, coffees and the conference dinner which was held at Linnéträdgården. We would like to thank all of you who in different ways contribute to making this workshop such and interesting, stimulating and nice event!

Maria Blomgren and Anders Forssell, Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University. 
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