Attitudes towards priority-setting and rationing in healthcare - an exploratory survey of Swedish medical students
2009 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, EISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 37, no 2, 122-130 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background: Healthcare priority-setting is inextricably linked to the challenge of providing publicly funded healthcare within a limited budget, which may result in difficult and potentially controversial rationing decisions. Despite priority-settings increasing prominence in policy and academic discussion, it is still unclear what the level of understanding and acceptance of priority-setting is at different levels of health care. Aims: The aim of this study is threefold. First we wish to explore the level of familiarity with different aspects of priority-setting among graduating medical students. Secondly, to gauge their acceptance of both established and proposed Swedish priority-setting principles. Finally to elucidate their attitudes towards healthcare rationing and the role of different actors in decision making, with a particular interest in comparing the attitudes of medical students with data from the literature examining the attitudes among primary care patients in Sweden. Methods: A cross-sectional survey containing 14 multiple choice items about priority-setting in healthcare was distributed to the graduating medical class at Linkoping University. The response rate was 92% (43/47). Results: Less than half of respondents have encountered the notion of open priority-setting, and the majority believed it to be somewhat or very unclear. There is a high degree of awareness and agreement with the established ethical principles for priority-setting in Swedish health care; however respondents are inconsistent in their application of the cost-effectiveness principle. A larger proportion of respondents were more favourable to physicians and other health personnel being responsible for rationing decisions as opposed to politicians. Conclusions: Future discussion about priority-setting in medical education should be contextualized within an explicit and open process. There is a need to adequately clarify the role of the cost-effectiveness principle in priority-setting. Medical students seem to acknowledge the need for rationing in healthcare to a greater extent when compared with previous results from Swedish primary care patients.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2009. Vol. 37, no 2, 122-130 p.
Ethical principles, healthcare, medical education, priority-setting, rationing, Sweden
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-18263DOI: 10.1177/1403494808100276OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-18263DiVA: diva2:217836