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Equity of access and variation in general surgeons’ clinical judgements of patient priority

NZ Literature Abstract

posted by Research Admin on 31 August 2011


Patrick Graham
Greg Martin
John Fraser
Jacqueline Cumming
Helen Williams
Ann Davidson
B. Parry
Justin A. Roake
Andre M. van Rij

Year of Publication



International Journal of Person Centered Medicine, 2(4)

Publication Type

Journal article (peer reviewed)

Publication Status



In New Zealand, access to publicly funded elective surgery is rationed by explicit prioritisation of patients, with those scoring above a threshold offered surgery and others referred back to their general practitioner for on-going management. The objective of this research was to examine variability in surgeon priority scoring within general surgery. Using an observational cross-sectional study design, 911 patients were assessed by one of 48 general surgeons who rated priority for surgery using a 100mm visual analog scale. Patients completed a questionnaire recording disease severity indicators. Across 3 study centres and 3 conditions, the authors found, in general, marked variability in surgeons’ scoring of patient priority. They discuss the implications of this study.

Type of Study


How to Access


Equity, variation and convergence in surgeons’ clinical judgements of priority