The Introduction sets the making of the patient-consumer in historical and theoretical context, delineates the key themes of the book and the issues covered. It begins by considering historical approaches to the separate figures of the patient and the consumer, and then examines how these two distinct entities were brought together in the early 1960s. The application of consumerism to health was (and to a great extent remains) contested. Key debates about the meaning of consumerism within health care, such as whether or not it was appropriate to talk about consumerism in the context of health, and the extent to which the patient-consumer can even be said to exist, will be examined. Finally, the content and key arguments of the book are surveyed.
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