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1.  Treatment costs and priority setting in health care: A qualitative study 
The aim of this study is to investigate whether the public believes high cost patients should be a lower priority for public health care than low cost patients, other things being equal, in order to maximise health gains from the health budget. Semi-structured group discussions were used to help participants reflect critically upon their own views and gain exposure to alternative views, and in this way elicit underlying values rather than unreflective preferences. Participants were given two main tasks: first, to select from among three general principles for setting health care priorities the one that comes closest to their own views; second, to allocate a limited hospital budget between two groups of imaginary patients. Forty-one people, varying in age, occupation, income and education level, participated in a total of six group discussions with each group comprising between six and eight people.
After discussion and deliberation, 30 participants rejected the most cost-effective principle for setting priorities, citing reasons such as 'moral values' and 'a personal belief that we shouldn't discriminate'. Only three participants chose to allocate the entire hospital budget to the low cost patients. Reasons for allocating some money to inefficient (high cost) patients included 'fairness' and the desire to give all patients a 'chance'.
Participants rejected a single-minded focus on efficiency – maximising health gains – when setting priorities in health care. There was a concern to avoid strategies that deny patients all hope of treatment, and a willingness to sacrifice health gains for a 'fair' public health system.
PMCID: PMC2685807  PMID: 19416546
2.  Increasing the options for reducing adverse events: Results from a modified Delphi technique 
The aim of this paper is to illustrate a simple method for increasing the range of possible options for reducing adverse events in Australian hospitals, which could have been, but was not, adopted in the wake of the landmark 1995 'Quality in Australian Health Care' study, and to report the suggestions and the estimated lapse time before they would impact upon mortality and morbidity.
The study used a modified Delphi technique that first elicited options for reducing adverse events from an invited panel selected on the basis of their knowledge of the area of adverse events and quality assurance. Initial suggestions were collated and returned to them for re-consideration and comment.
Completed responses from both stages were obtained from 20 of those initially approached. Forty-one options for reducing AEs were identified with an average lapse time of 3.5 years. Hospital regulation had the least delay (2.4 years) and out of hospital information the greatest (6.4 years).
Following identification of the magnitude of the problem of adverse events in the 'Quality in Australian Health Care' study a more rapid and broad ranging response was possible than occurred. Apparently viable options for reducing adverse events and associated mortality and morbidity remain unexploited.
PMCID: PMC2596159  PMID: 19014562
3.  Notes on a Case of Pneumothorax * 
British Medical Journal  1905;2(2348):1698-1699.
PMCID: PMC2322817  PMID: 20762455

Results 1-3 (3)