Citizens have their say on health care

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 09 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1164

Health authorities around Britain are piloting a radical new method of increasing grassroots input into decision making.

Backed by grants from the King's Fund of £12 000 ($18 000), East Sussex, Buckinghamshire, and Sunderland health authorities announced last week that they would run “citizens' juries” on key local issues early in the new year.

A model of public consultation pioneered in the United States and Germany, citizens' juries mimic a court of law and are designed to get to the heart of community opinion without being hijacked by interest groups or lack of information.

Sixteen jurors, recruited off the street according to the demographic profile of the community, hear evidence and cross examine expert witnesses representing all sides of the debate over a period …

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