Quality of care . . . and other storiesBMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5609 (Published 26 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5609
The scarcity loop
Healthcare is a scarce resource. There can never be enough funding to allow doctors to do everything that is medically possible or for patients to receive everything they want. Inevitably, this leads to difficult decisions about what to provide and who is entitled to receive it. An essay in the Lancet questions these assumptions and rejects an economic model of medicine rooted in notions of scarcity and consumerism (Lancet doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(19)31556-9). It argues against judging the quality of medical care in monetary terms and wants us to substitute criteria that include kindness, understanding, and communication.
Untreated, it’s …