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Priority setting in developed and developing countries 

Priority setting in developed and developing countries

Priority setting in developed and developing countries

Nigel Crisp


May 31, 2012: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

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date: 27 April 2017

Priority setting is a normal and important task in any health system. The starting point is current knowledge and evidence, but priority setting is also about judgement, which goes beyond what can be based on evidence. Wherever possible, judgement needs to be based on transparent and systematic methods that are open to question and debate by others.

Public opinion and politics

Politics (in this context) embraces the activities of all those bodies—private, public, and professional alike—whose actions influence health care provision: these have a central place in priority setting, but also need to be transparent and accountable.

Leadership and management

It is essential to understand what leaders or managers are aiming to do in setting priorities at any time, whether this be responding to public pressure, dealing with a financial issue, setting a strategic direction, managing a transformation, or being opportunistic. Whatever is done, there are opportunity costs and there will be unexpected and negative consequences, which need to be anticipated and planned for, wherever possible, and responded to flexibly.

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