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Health Care Decision‐Making ‐ A Focus Group Study Involving Health Professionals and the General Public

Bradley Shrimpton (The University of Melbourne)
John McKie (Monash University.)
Rosalind Hurworth (The University of Melbourne)
Catherine Bell (The University of Melbourne)
Jeff Richardson (Monash University.)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 3 August 2008



Faced with an ageing population and newspaper warnings that escalating costs are leading to a health crisis, debate has intensified in Australia and elsewhere on the allocation of limited health resources. But whose values should inform decision‐making in the health area, and should the influence of different groups vary with the level of decision‐making? These questions were put to 54 members of the public and health professionals in eight focus groups. Unlike previous studies, participants were not asked if particular groups should be involved in decisions but rather through deliberation and discussion nominated their own potential decision‐makers. This delivered a clear message that participants saw a legitimate role for a broad range of stakeholders in priority‐setting decisions. The results suggest that qualitative methods of investigation have the potential to improve the legitimacy and accountability of policy decisions by contributing to a better understanding of the values of the public and health professionals.



Shrimpton, B., McKie, J., Hurworth, R., Bell, C. and Richardson, J. (2008), "Health Care Decision‐Making ‐ A Focus Group Study Involving Health Professionals and the General Public", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 43-58.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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