Choice 'sacrifices' equality, researcher warns

The UK government's emphasis on choice is in danger of sacrificing the principle of equality on which the NHS was founded, according to a researcher.

Writing in the BMJ, Harvard University’s Adam Ali says: ‘In moving to empower NHS patients with choice, the UK government is in danger of sacrificing the principle of equality on which the service was founded, for choice and equality necessarily conflict.

‘If choice is possible then, by definition, differences exist in the quality of care being provided in the NHS and some are receiving a substandard service that an informed patient would not choose. Allowing patient choice by publicly reporting outcomes is likely to exacerbate inequality as some are better positioned to exercise choice – most likely rich and well-educated people.’

neil.durham@haymarket.com

  • Does choice jeopardise equality?

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