Prioritizing health technologies in a Primary Care Trust

Edward Wilson, Jon Sussex, Christine Macleod, Richard Fordham

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In the English National Health Service (NHS), Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are responsible for commissioning health-care services on behalf of their populations. As resources are finite, decisions are required as to which services best fulfil population needs. Evidence on effectiveness varies in quality and availability. Nevertheless, decisions still have to be made.
Methods: We report the development and pilot application of a multi-criteria prioritization mechanism in an English PCT, capable of accommodating a wide variety of evidence to rank six service developments.
Results: The mechanism proved valuable in assisting prioritization decisions and feedback was positive. Two community-based interventions were expected to save money in the long term and were ranked at the top of the list. Based on weighted benefit score and cost, two preventive programmes were ranked third and fourth. Finally, two National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)-approved interventions were ranked fifth and sixth. Sensitivity analysis revealed overlap in benefit scores for some of the interventions, representing diversity of opinion among the scoring panel.
Conclusion: The method appears to be a practical approach to prioritization for commissioners of health care, but the pilot also revealed interesting divergences in relative priority between nationally mandated service developments and local health-care priorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Health Services Research and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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