Allocation of scarce resources in health care: values and concepts

Asignación de escasos recursos en el cuidado de la salud

Alocação de escassos recursos no cuidado de saúde: valores e conceitos

Per-Erik Liss About the author

In many countries, a gap exists between the population's need for health care and available resources. These nations have attempted to eliminate or reduce the gap through such activities as improving efficiency and narrowing responsibilities. Since these measures have proven insufficient, decisions must be made regarding how to best use the scarce resources. The priority-setting and rationing processes involve key decisions in the sense that they have consequences for people's health and quality of life and they should therefore be rational and based on solid grounds. This means that the decisions involve three issues: facts, concepts and values. In this presentation the focus is on the conceptual and value issues. A basic ethical platform as a guide for decision-making will be presented. The ethical principles that constitute the platform contain central concepts like health care need, cost-effectiveness, health and goal. A short presentation of these concepts will be carried out. This will end with the concept of a goal and its importance for decision-making.

Health; Health resources; Delivery of health care


Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Programa de Pós Graduação em Enfermagem Campus Universitário Trindade, 88040-970 Florianópolis - Santa Catarina - Brasil, Tel.: (55 48) 3721-4915 / (55 48) 3721-9043 - Florianópolis - SC - Brazil
E-mail: textoecontexto@contato.ufsc.br