In the clinical and economic evaluation of health care, the value of benefit gained should be determined from a public perspective. The objective of this study was to establish relative valuations attached to different health states to form the basis for a social tariff for use in quantifying patient benefit from health care. Three thousand three hundred and ninety-five interviews were conducted with a representative sample of the adult British population. Using the EuroQol health state classification and a visual analogue scale (VAS), each respondent valued 15 health states producing, in total, direct valuations for 45 states. Two hundred and twenty-one re-interviews were conducted approximately 10 weeks later. A near complete, and logically consistent, VAS data set was generated with good test-retest reliability (mean ICC=0.78). Both social class and education had a significant effect, where higher median valuations were given by respondents in social classes III–V and by those with intermediate or no educational qualifications. These effects were particularly noticeable for more severe states. The use of such valuations in a social tariff raises important issues regarding the use of the VAS method itself to elicit valuations for hypothetical health states, the production of separate tariffs according to social class and/or education and the appropriate measure of central tendency
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