Making an original contribution to debates on health policy, this accessible and engaging book critically examines the future of health care and public health policy from the perspective of users and citizens. Consumerism, partnerships with patients and user involvement are seen as key to future health care and healthy public policies. The book outlines how individuals as patients, healthy people and research subjects relate to health services and how the public, as citizens, influence health care and public policies at local, national and international levels.



Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of the other place.

Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor, (1991)

Everyone of us is at some time or another a patient. Most of the time we look after our own health, perhaps seeking information or advice from family and friends, magazines, or the pharmacist. Sometimes we have to ask for medical help and, when we do, we are ‘patients’ for the short time we are in contact with health services. Even then it is not primarily how we see ...

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