Document Type: Commentary
Health Services Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
With demand for health services continuing to grow as populations age and new technologies emerge to meet health needs, healthcare policy-makers are under constant pressure to set priorities, ie, to make choices about the health services that can and cannot be funded within available resources. In a recent paper, Smith et al apply an influential policy studies framework – Kingdon’s multiple streams approach (MSA) – to explore the factors that explain why one health service delivery organization adopted a formal priority setting framework (in the form of programme budgeting and marginal analysis [PBMA]) to assist it in making priority setting decisions. MSA is a theory of agenda-setting, ie, how it is that different issues do or do not reach a decision-making point. In this paper, I reflect on the use of the MSA framework to explore priority setting processes and how the framework might be applied to similar cases in future.