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Med J Aust. 2004 Jan 19;180(2):76-8.

Whose health service is it anyway? Community values in healthcare.

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Social and Public Health Economics Research Group (SPHERe), Curtin University, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia.


There is growing interest in involving the public in decisions about healthcare provision. Citizens' juries, whose members were randomly selected from the electoral roll (rather than derived from consumer interest groups), have been trialled in Western Australia. When asked to take a community focus, presented with balanced evidence and given time to discuss and deliberate, the juries were able to identify and debate issues of broad principle, such as equity. Such issues seem to be best handled by referring to community values. Any public consultation process should provide sufficient information, opportunity for reflection and deliberation, and recognition of the scarcity of resources.

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