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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), pp. 219-233. (doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2010.08.015). (PMID:20850194).

Record type: Article



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.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 17 September 2010
Published date: May 2011
Keywords: elderly, healthcare services, priority setting
Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 337576
PURE UUID: 77c224ef-bbbc-4b3a-b0f3-3b439dd7120b

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Date deposited: 27 Apr 2012 16:01
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:02

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Author: Benise Mak
Author: Jean Woo
Author: Ann Bowling
Author: Florens Wong
Author: Pui Hing Chau

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