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Understanding public preferences for prioritizing health care interventions in England: does the type of health gain matter?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Helen Mason, Dr Rachel Baker, Professor Cam Donaldson


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Objectives: Health care budgets are finite and decisions must be made about which interventions to provide and, by implication, which will not be provided. The aim of this study was to investigate what features of health care interventions, including the type of health gain, are important to members of the public in England in making priority-setting decisions and to understand why. Methods: Q methodology was used with 52 members of the public in north east England. Respondents rank ordered 36 health care interventions from those they would give highest priority to through to those they would give lowest priority to. A form of factor analysis was used to reveal a small number of shared viewpoints. Results: Five factors emerged: 'life saving to maximize the size of the health gain', 'everyone deserves a chance at life', '(potential for) own benefit', 'maximum benefit for (perceived) lowest cost' and 'quality of life and social responsibility'. There were different views about which interventions should be given priority. Respondents considered not only the type of health gain received from an intervention as important, but also the size of the health gain, who received the health gain and an individual's personal responsibility. Conclusions: Aspects other than health gain need to be considered when soliciting the public's views of priorities for health care interventions. journal of Health Services Research & Policy Vol 16 No 2, 2011: 81-89 (C) The Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd 2011

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mason H, Baker R, Donaldson C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Health Services Research & Policy

Year: 2011

Volume: 16

Issue: 2

Pages: 81-89

Print publication date: 01/04/2011

ISSN (print): 1355-8196

ISSN (electronic): 1758-1060

Publisher: Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd.


DOI: 10.1258/jhsrp.2010.010039


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