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Placing private health care: reading Ascot hospital in the landscape of contemporary Auckland


  • Kearns, Robin A.
  • Ross Barnett, J.
  • Newman, Daniel


The closing years of the 20th century were a time in New Zealand dominated by health care reforms inspired by neo-liberal ideology. The result has been changing geographies of public and private health care providers and the evolution of a new discourse of health care. Ascot Integrated Hospital, situated in the affluent Auckland suburb of Remuera, opened in 1999, reflecting and projecting this new discourse. It is a pioneer, competing for patient patronage in a contracting market for surgical and medical providers. In this paper we survey the recent history of private hospital developments in New Zealand, then more closely consider the Ascot, a hospital that has deployed language to construct itself and its achievements in the public imagination. Given the context of an extremely competitive environment for private patients, this construction glamorises medicine and links healing with a contrived place. We conclude that texts associated with the Ascot provide a useful vehicle for advancing cultural geographies of health care and ideas of the place of hospitals in western capitalist countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Kearns, Robin A. & Ross Barnett, J. & Newman, Daniel, 2003. "Placing private health care: reading Ascot hospital in the landscape of contemporary Auckland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(11), pages 2303-2315, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:11:p:2303-2315

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    Cited by:

    1. Neuwelt, Pat M. & Kearns, Robin A. & Browne, Annette J., 2015. "The place of receptionists in access to primary care: Challenges in the space between community and consultation," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 287-295.
    2. Wood, Victoria J. & Curtis, Sarah E. & Gesler, Wil & Spencer, Ian H. & Close, Helen J. & Mason, James & Reilly, Joe G., 2013. "Creating ‘therapeutic landscapes’ for mental health carers in inpatient settings: A dynamic perspective on permeability and inclusivity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 122-129.
    3. Stonington, Scott D., 2012. "On ethical locations: The good death in Thailand, where ethics sit in places," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(5), pages 836-844.
    4. Buzinde, Christine N. & Yarnal, Careen, 2012. "Therapeutic landscapes and postcolonial theory: A theoretical approach to medical tourism," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(5), pages 783-787.
    5. Bromley, Elizabeth, 2012. "Building patient-centeredness: Hospital design as an interpretive act," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(6), pages 1057-1066.


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