This analysis of the four countries surveyed is an admirable reconnaissance of the institutions mainly concerned, the research strategies adopted in Belgium, France, the Federal German Republic, and the Netherlands, and sketches projects of relevant interest. A comparison of the latter shows the universality of a variety of problems.
Straining to hit all of a group of targets in the first salvo can often prejudice accuracy and intensity of achievement, and although this first attempt is not completely comprehensive, its faults are insignificant against what has been achieved in a sensible timeframe; and the trail blazed holds out exciting promises for those prepared to note the flora and fauna, to follow the path cut, to understand where it leads, and to develop the model approach in whatever direction is deemed desirable.
At the same time with its critical approach to the comparison of actions and attitudes in the countries concerned the report enriches the growing literature of health services research. Taken together with what is known already about research in the UK and in North America this study is of fundamental importance to an understanding of the problems perceived in health services in an important group of Western countries, where there is common ground.
The fact that a great deal of the research being carried out has a universal application but is relatively unknown outside its indigenous setting is noteworthy and suggests the need for the design of mechanisms for communicating the results of local research to audiences beyond the countries of origin, to parallel what happens already in the clinical field.
Blanpain J and Delesie L (1976) Community health investment: Health services research in Belgium, France, Federal German Republic and the Netherlands. Nuffield Trust.