Health Care Analysis

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 59–72 | Cite as

A Fair Range of Choice: Justifying Maximum Patient Choice in the British National Health Service

  • Stephen Wilmot
Original Article


In this paper I put forward an ethical argument for the provision of extensive patient choice by the British National Health Service. I base this argument on traditional liberal rights to freedom of choice, on a welfare right to health care, and on a view of health as values-based. I argue that choice, to be ethically sustainable on this basis, must be values-based and rational. I also consider whether the British taxpayer may be persuadable with regard to the moral acceptability of patient choice, making use of Rawls’ theory of political liberalism in this context. I identify issues that present problems in terms of public acceptance of choice, and also identify a boundary issue with regard to public health choices as against individual choices.


Patient choice Equality Fairness Health care National health service Public health Rational Rights Values 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education, Health and SciencesUniversity of DerbyDerbyUK

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