The Significance of the Goal of Health Care for the Setting of Priorities
Health Care Analysis: An International Journal of Health Philosophy and Policy 2003 June; 11(2): 161-169
The purpose of the article is to argue for the significance of a clarified goal of health care for the setting of priorities. Three arguments are explored. First, assessment of needs becomes necessary in so far as the principle of need should guide the priority-setting. The concept of health care need includes a goal component. This component should for rational reasons be identical with the goal of health care. Second, in order to use resources efficiently it is necessary to assess the effects of health care. It is not, however, a question of assessing whether there is an effect but a question of assessing whether there is the right effect. And what constitutes the right effect can only be determined in relation to the goal of the enterprise. Third, the health sector involves several groups of actors such as politicians, administrators, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, educationists and patients. It is common knowledge that successful teamwork requires an understanding of a common goal. The article ends with an example of a goal chosen from ethics.
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