New public management, physicians and populism: Turkey's experience with health reforms

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  • Tuba I. Agartan, Providence College, Harvard School of Public Health
  • ,
  • Ellen Kuhlmann, Hannover Medical School

Recent debates on the rise of right-wing or neoliberal populism globally have prompted public health and health systems researchers to explore its implications in the healthcare systems. This case study of Turkey's recent health reform initiative, the Health Transformation Program, aims to contribute to this debate by examining the nexus among populism, professionalism and the contemporary market and managerial reforms, often described as New Public Management (NPM). Building on document analysis and secondary sources, this article introduces a framework to explore whether and how populist agendas grow up in the shadow of NPM policies. We aim to deepen our understanding of the governance settings that might be used in different ways by right-wing populist leaders to advance their agendas. Our research reveals that the NPM reforms in Turkey have opened a ‘backdoor’ through which right-wing populist agendas were supported and the position of the medical profession as an important stakeholder in the institutional settings was weakened. However, what mattered most in the reform process was not the policies themselves but the ways new managerialist policies were implemented. Our analysis makes blind spots of the NPM reforms and healthcare governance research visible and calls for greater attention to implementation processes.

TidsskriftSociology of Health and Illness
Sider (fra-til)1410-1425
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - 1 sep. 2019

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