Intended for healthcare professionals


Effect of discussion and deliberation on public's views of priority setting

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 17 July 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:189

More data are needed for readers to make judgment about study

  1. Barbara Hanratty (, Visiting lecturer in public health medicine,
  2. Debbie Lawlo, Visiting lecturer in public health medicine
  1. Nuffield Institute for Health, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9PL
  2. University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DA
  3. LSE Health, London School of Economics, London WC2A 2AE
  4. North Yorkshire Health Authority, York YO3 4XF

    EDITOR—Dolan et al conclude that people's views on setting priorities differ systematically when they have been given the opportunity to discuss and deliberate, yet they present data that show the stability of the public's opinions.1 After discussion more than half of the respondents (52%) did not change their minds about who should be involved in priority setting A further 40% shifted only one point on a five-point scale, which was aggregated to three points, suggesting that the scale discriminated poorly between different preferences. When the participants considered which groups should be proritised 63% did not change their minds and, overall, only two groups were prioritised differently the second time.

    The assumption that respondents to questionnaire surveys fail to consider their replies carefully underlies this study, though we are not aware of any evidence to support this. The authors also present no data to support the implication …

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