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Hearing the client voice

02 January 2023
Volume 28 · Issue 1
 Alison While
Alison While

The word ‘consumerism’ is frequently used in the context of spending on cars, clothing, shoes and gadgets, which are not always a necessity, but instead, part of a socio-cultural trend. The UK patient does not usually consider themselves a consumer of healthcare, unlike in the US, where healthcare is considered a commodity or service which can be bought and sold. Healthcare consumerism in the US was strengthened by the No Surprises Act (2021), which was designed to protect patients from unexpected medical and other costs at out-of-network hospitals or other providers. The position of patients as consumers or customers of the UK healthcare services is less clear, partly because there is no direct monetary relationship between the patient and the service provider, with all care being free at the point of delivery and costs funded through general taxation. As a consequence, satisfaction surveys of UK healthcare are frequently replete with high satisfaction ratings, although the services being rated are not the best (Fitzpatrick and Hopkins, 1983).

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