Preference elicitation studies reporting societal views on the relative value of end-of-life treatments have produced equivocal results. This paper presents an alternative method, combining Q methodology and survey techniques (Q2S) to determine the distribution of 3 viewpoints on the relative value of end-of-life treatments identified in a previous, published, phase of this work. These were Viewpoint 1, “A population perspective: value for money, no special cases”; Viewpoint 2, “Life is precious: valuing life-extension and patient choice”; and Viewpoint 3, “Valuing wider benefits and opportunity cost: the quality of life and death.”. A Q2S survey of 4,902 respondents across the United Kingdom measured agreement with these viewpoints; 37% most agreed with Viewpoint 1, 49% with Viewpoint 2, and 9% with Viewpoint 3. Regression analysis showed associations of viewpoints with gender, level of education, religion, voting preferences, and satisfaction with the NHS. The Q2S approach provides a promising means to investigate how in-depth views and opinions are represented in the wider population. As demonstrated in this study, there is often more than 1 viewpoint on a topic and methods that seek to estimate that averages may not provide the best guidance for societal decision-making.

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Keywords end of life, Q survey, resource allocation, societal views
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Journal Health Economics
Mason, H, Collins, M, McHugh, N, Godwin, J. (Jon), van Exel, N.J.A, Donaldson, C.R, & Baker, R.M. (2018). Is “end of life” a special case? Connecting Q with survey methods to measure societal support for views on the value of life-extending treatments. Health Economics, 27(5), 819–831. doi:10.1002/hec.3640