What reasons do those with practical experience use in deciding on priorities for healthcare resources?: a qualitative study

Hasman, A., McIntosh, E. and Hope, T. (2008) What reasons do those with practical experience use in deciding on priorities for healthcare resources?: a qualitative study. Journal of Medical Ethics, 34(9), pp. 658-663. (doi: 10.1136/jme.2007.023366)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jme.2007.023366


<p><b>Background:</b> Priority setting is necessary in current healthcare services. Discussion of fair process has highlighted the value of developing reasons for allocation decisions on the basis of experience gained from real cases.</p> <p><b>Aim:</b> To identify the reasons that those with experience of real decision-making concerning resource allocation think relevant in deciding on the priority of a new but expensive drug treatment.</p> <p><b>Methods:</b> Semistructured interviews with members of committees with responsibility for making resource allocation decisions at a local level in the British National Health Service, analysed using modified grounded theory.</p> <p><b>Results:</b> 22 interviews were carried out. 14 reasons were identified. Four reasons were almost universally considered most important: cost effectiveness; clinical effectiveness; equality and gross cost. No one reason was considered dominant. Some considerations, such as political directives and fear of litigation, were thought by many participants to distort decision-making. There was a substantial lack of agreement over the relevance of some reasons, such as the absence of alternative treatment for the condition.</p> <p><b>Conclusions:</b> There is a clear consensus on the importance and role of a limited number of reasons in allocation decisions among participants. A focus on the process of decision-making, however, does not obviate the need for those involved in the process to engage with problematical ethical issues, nor for the importance of further ethical analysis.</p>

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McIntosh, Professor Emma
Authors: Hasman, A., McIntosh, E., and Hope, T.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment
Journal Name:Journal of Medical Ethics

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