Published: 12/08/2004, Volume II4, No. 5918 Page 18 19

Do you think the public have an obligation to manage their own health and take treatments responsibly?

Would you like to join the HSJ 100 panel? E-mail emma. forrest@emap. com

The outcomes of healthcare are always more effective if people are equipped and willing to take responsibility for their actions.

Healthcare professionals have not always encouraged the public to use resources effectively.We need to become better at 'contracting' with individuals about the type of treatment we provide and include self care or responsibility within that contract. But how do we measure if a person is being irresponsible or if they do not have the mental or physical capacity to be responsible for their health?

Danielle Procter, assistant director of workforce modernisation, Wakefield West PCT

The principle that health service resources are available to all is irrespective of not only their ability to pay, but also of their ability to thwart the best intentions of those who deliver their care.

Hilda Harvey, chair, Bury PCT We all have to take responsibility for how we treat our bodies, but if you start rationing resources on the arbitrary decisions of middle-class professionals It is the poor and disadvantaged who suffer.

Andrew Archibald, general manager, communications unit, South Yorkshire Ambulance Service

All people should be obliged to accept this personal responsibility to manage their own health. Serial misusers of resources could be charged for the waste of time when they cry wolf. But to restrict access may mean we miss the occasion when there is a wolf.

Jonathan Ainsworth, assistant director of personnel, Rotherham General Hospitals trust