The government’s new white paper on health seems to suggest that patients should be offered more choice. However, visiting the doctor or phoning the police is simply not like shopping, according to people questioned for a new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which found that most of us reject the trend towards treating everyone as ‘consumers’.
We see public services as different from the market-place and value their ‘publicness’, according to the project led by Professor John Clarke of the Open University, Milton Keynes.
The study – part of the joint ESRC and Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Cultures of Consumption programme – gathered the views of people in two urban areas – one in the North-West and the other in the South-East. It involved managers, front line staff and users of health, police and social care services in both places.
Alexandra Saxon | alfa
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