Towards a broader conceptualisation of 'public trust' in the health care system

Gille, F; Smith, S; Mays, N; (2016) Towards a broader conceptualisation of 'public trust' in the health care system. Social theory & health, 15 (1). pp. 25-43. ISSN 1477-8211 DOI:

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Public trust lacks a precise, theoretically grounded and empirically tested definition, despite the increasing research interest and widespread use of the term in relation to different health care systems as well as other societal institutions. The mass media as well as the scientific community use the term public trust as if there is a common understanding of its meaning. As this is evidently not the case, this article proposes a broadening of an existing conceptualisation of public trust for use in health care system and policy research drawing on wider scholarship on trust from outside health care. In doing so, it further develops an existing conceptualisation of public trust in the health care system as a basis for discussion. In this conceptualisation, the origin of public trust is understood to be in the public sphere, which is situated between the individual, the health care system, the state and other societal institutions. Public trust in the health care system is influenced not only by the health care system itself, individuals' experiences of it and its media image but also by discourse in the public sphere about individuals' experiences and the system as a whole. This conceptual framework now needs empirical validation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: health care system, individual trust, public trust, public trust in the, health care system, physicians, medicine, england, Biomedical Social Sciences
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
Web of Science ID: 397189000002

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