Health consumer groups in the UK: a new social movement?
Article first published online: 20 SEP 2004
Sociology of Health & Illness
Volume 26, Issue 6, pages 737–756, September 2004
How to Cite
Allsop, J., Jones, K. and Baggott, R. (2004), Health consumer groups in the UK: a new social movement?. Sociology of Health & Illness, 26: 737–756. doi: 10.1111/j.0141-9889.2004.00416.x
- Issue published online: 20 SEP 2004
- Article first published online: 20 SEP 2004
- new social movement;
- health consumers;
- protest groups;
- lay knowledge;
- public participation
This paper argues that a health consumer movement has developed in the United Kingdom over the last decade. Drawing on two empirical studies of groups that promote and/or represent the interests of patients, users and carers, it argues that groups formed by people with personal experience of a condition are now more widespread. Feelings of pain and loss can lead to the identification of others in a similar position, and to the formation of groups and action in the political sphere. Research shows that groups share a common discourse and follow similar participative practices, and there is extensive networking. Informal and formal alliances have formed to pursue joint action and indicate a wider health consumer movement. As governments have also increased the opportunities for participation, this has the potential for patients and carers to shape services in ways more responsive to their needs.