Priority Setting, Patients' Rights, and Judicial Review
This chapter discusses the use of several frameworks by health authorities. It examines the practical responses of health authority decision-makers to the financial pressures imposed upon them and the way in which the courts have developed a legal framework within which their decisions should be made. As the process of resource allocation has become more visible, so the courts have become more willing to demand reasons from health authorities for the difficult decisions they have to make. In this, there is a marked change of attitude. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the courts were entirely deferential to health authority decision-making in this area. Today, however, there is much greater willingness to scrutinise resource allocation decisions and, if needs be, to overturn them and refer them back for reconsideration.
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