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Procedural justice in public health care resource allocation

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Introduction: The legal studies literature on procedural justice identifies six key characteristics of procedural justice: accuracy, consistency, impartiality, reversibility, transparency and voice. However, the relative importance of these in the context of public healthcare resource allocation is unclear, as is whether they are valuable instrumentally (because it contributes to better outcomes) or inherently (for its own sake). Methods: A survey of 80-odd members of the UK public determined the following: the ranking of all the six characteristics; the pairwise comparisons of the characteristics; and whether each characteristic was important for instrumental reasons, for intrinsic reasons or for both. Results: Respondents ranked the procedures in the order of accuracy, consistency, impartiality, reversibility and transparency. Procedural justice was valued for both instrumental and inherent reasons. Discussion/conclusion: A robust ranking of five of the six procedural characteristics was found. The ranking for voice was sensitive to the question format, which has methodological implications. Around a quarter to a third of respondents regarded a procedural characteristic to have entirely intrinsic value.

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