Metaphors are central to the human understanding of complex issues; through the immediate associations they evoke and frame problems and suggest solutions. Our suggestion of Music in the Park as a metaphor for health systems reform brings to the forefront the environmentally diverse but bounded spaces of health services that offer a variety of attractors within their confines, while pushing into the background organizational and economic concerns. Parks, like health services, are embedded in their local landscape, serving their communities, but most importantly parks are public spaces, publically funded, ideally offering universal access and equity and to be shared by all who want to go there. Music, like health, is tangible, technical and scientific, yet ultimately experiential and based on meaning. While it encompasses a wide range of styles and approaches, music making requires as its most important skill active listening which brings with it to be ‘in the moment’, to take personal risks and to draw energy and inspiration from the participants. Hence ‘audiences’ are equally active participants because music only has meaning if it internally resonates with the listener and only can exist in what is a co-constructed experience. Music in the Park is a metaphor for primary health care systems based on shared values of experts and unique local communities. Health professionals are players in this arena, who develop and practise the full range of their skills in response to individual and community needs and preferences. Their leadership works through inspiration and empowerment, making patients ‘co-producers’ of their own health and ‘co-shapers’ of their health services.
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice Vol. 16, Issue 3, p. 409-414