Healthcare prioritization in ageing societies: influence of age, education, health literacy and culture

Mak, Benise, Woo, Jean, Bowling, Ann, Wong, Florens and Chau, Pui Hing (2011) Healthcare prioritization in ageing societies: influence of age, education, health literacy and culture. Health Policy, 100, (2-3), 219-233. (doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2010.08.015). (PMID:20850194).


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To examine how Chinese people in Hong Kong view healthcareprioritization and to compare the findings with those from a United Kingdom survey.


A cross-sectional opinion survey was conducted in Hong Kong and 1512 participants were interviewed.


Data show that the highest rankings were accorded to “treatment for children” and “high technology services.” Services for the elderly, whether in the community or in hospitals, and including end-of-life care, were ranked among the lowest. This view was also shared by healthcare professionals. Compared with the UK findings, there are stark contrasts in the low ranking of end-of-life care and the high ranking of high technology services among the HK population.


It is evident that most people would give priority to the young over the old in distributing a given amount of healthcare services. To meet the needs of ageing societies and to meet the needs of all users equitably, healthcare policy needs to acknowledge constraints and the needs for prioritization. Both the public and professionals should engage with policy makers in formulating a policy based on cost benefit considerations as well as overall societal view of prioritization that is not based on age alone.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2010.08.015
ISSNs: 0168-8510 (print)
Keywords: elderly, healthcare services, priority setting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions : Faculty of Health Sciences
ePrint ID: 337576
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
May 2011Published
17 September 2010Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2012 16:01
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:26

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