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Hospital decentralisation in Romania: stakeholders' perspectives in the newsprint media


  • Adela Elena Popa

    Corresponding author
    1. Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Sibiu, Romania
    • Correspondence to: A. E. Popa, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, 10, Victoriei Bd, Sibiu 550024, Romania. E-mail:

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In the summer of 2010, Romania undertook a process of hospital decentralisation as part of the reform in the healthcare sector. The national newsprint media covered the process thoroughly. This paper is a study of how key stakeholders' views, attitudes, beliefs and attitudes towards decentralisation are represented in print media. 106 articles, published between June and September 2010, retrieved from the online databases of six leading national dailies were analysed. A mixed methodology was used in the data analysis stage. The qualitative data exploration identified five voices belonging to stakeholders involved directly or indirectly in the process: the representatives of central government, the local authorities (district and local councils, municipal mayors), health professionals (managers and physicians in hospitals), the media (journalists, analysts) and finally voices from civil society, professional associations and advocacy groups. These were the main actors negotiating the subjective meanings of the decentralisation process. An imbalance between these key actors were observed in the frequency, content and tone of the messages delivered in media during the four months. Central government and the local authorities were the most active voices, but the respective discourses differed significantly. An analysis of the accounts identified three main themes: the financial problem (hospitals liabilities and future spending), human resource in hospitals (the impact of decentralisation upon it) and the political character of the decentralisation. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.