Authors: Brenton J Prosser
It has been claimed that the 'policy success' heuristic is of significant practical value to policy sociology, while its typological framework will be a standard reference point for policy studies in the future. This paper explores these claims in the context of recent Australian primary health care reform and, in particular, the case of an Australian Government policy initiative that seeks to expand nurse practitioner services in the community. The paper provides a brief introduction to the Australian healthcare system and current reform priorities, before a qualitative methodology is outlined, through which the 'policy success' of the initiative is explored. Specific features of social policy are noted, including the importance of understanding the role of 'street-level bureaucrats'. Additional qualitative data is then reviewed to explore perspectives of nurse practitioners participating in the policy initiative to find additional insights around its success. In doing so, the paper argues that it is important to include practitioner perspectives within the 'policy success' heuristic whenever considering social policy initiatives.
Keywords: policy success, governance, primary health care, nurse practitioner