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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2002): Mental Health Services - Overseas

RESHAPING COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN A RESTRUCTURED STATE: NEW ZEALAND 1984-97

P Barnett and S Newberry

Public Management Review, vol. 4, 2002, p. 187-208

Based on documentary and interview evidence, this study investigates the impact of privatisation, decentralisation and increased flexibility on community mental health services in New Zealand. The evidence suggests that privatisation, in the sense of substitution of private for state funding of services, was minimal. Decentralisation led to regional variations and inequities in provision. Increased flexibility led both to increased responsiveness and sensitivity of provision, and to fragmentation of services. At the same time, performance assessment and accountability became more difficult.

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