Opinions of patients and the public regarding NHS priorities.

Scottish medical journal

PubMedID: 11771493

Baker AD, Bassran A, Paterson-Brown S. Opinions of patients and the public regarding NHS priorities. Scott Med J. 2001;46(5):140-2.
The purpose of this study was to ascertain the views of patients and the public on NHS priorities. Data were gathered by interview questionnaire throughout Edinburgh city centre, and within various departments of one large teaching hospital. Of the 1502 responses, 462 were from within the hospital and 1040 were from city centre locations. 1497 (99.7%) were in favour of treating emergencies, and 1467 (97.7%) life threatening conditions as a priority. 1315 (88%) agreed that treatable conditions that seriously affect quality of life should also be considered a priority and 1127 (75%) were in favour of treating patients with incurable terminal disease regardless of cost. In order to provide these services 584 (39%) considered it acceptable to make patients with less serious conditions wait longer. Of the 918 (61%) who considered it not acceptable to wait longer 812 (88%) would be prepared to pay more in tax to provide this. The General Public do support the treatment of emergency and life threatening conditions as an absolute priority. The majority also support the prioritization of conditions which are treatable and seriously affect quality of life. If in establishing these priorities waiting times for other conditions are likely to rise, the public would generally accept increased taxation or some form of fee for service.