A good rule of thumb for authors is that you should write books that you yourself really want or need to read. So it was for this book. Having run a wide range of postgraduate programmes for healthcare managers in the UK ourselves, and having worked with colleagues involved in this area in other European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, we knew there simply wasn't a comprehensive, research-based book which provided a foundation for postgraduate study of health policy and management. There were policy books, and management books, but none that brought the two together – and certainly not in a way that was appropriate for an international readership. Moreover, we also worked on development programmes with many senior and middle managers who had enormous experiential learning, but struggled to set that in a wider, more theoretical context. We thought they needed a book like this too.
As with all good ideas, when we pointed out the need for a book like this to other people, they suggested that we should get on and write it. This seemed to make sense at first, but we quickly realised that we simply didn't have the breadth of knowledge and expertise that was demanded by such an ambitious project. However, we were aware that between us we knew people who could contribute the appropriately expert material for the book we envisaged.
To our delight, when we approached those colleagues rather tentatively to ask them to contribute to this book, they shared our enthusiasm for the idea, and were prepared to invest their time and effort in writing chapters to a demanding timescale. It is remarkable that it took just eight months from us designing the book and approaching chapter authors to delivering the final text to our publishers. This has allowed us to make the content about as up to date as it could be in what is (as we emphasise in the book) a complex and fast-changing world.
We owe a great deal to the contributors to this book and hope that they are as pleased as we are with the overall result of our collective effort (and that they will forgive us for rather assertive project management). But we owe as much to Amy Bevell and Lyndsey Jackson who were really in charge of making sure both that chapter authors and editors stuck to the deadlines and delivered on time. Editing this book has truly been a