Intended for healthcare professionals


Health needs assessment is not required for priority setting

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 24 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1154
  1. Stavros Petrou, Health economist.
  1. National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford OX2 6HE

    EDITOR —The series of articles on health needs assessment provided insights into how the approach could be used to describe health problems in populations and to identify inequalities in health and access to services.1 The authors of the articles failed to recognise, however, that prioritising healthcare services on the basis of need can lead to inefficient use of resources.

    Allocating finite healthcare resources according to the total amount of ill health in the population —whether this is measured by lives …

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