Examples of interim priority setting

The Mesothelioma PSP listed 52 questions in the interim survey using SurveyMonkey, asking for respondents to indicate whether each one was:

‘Not a priority’ (scored 1)
‘Low priority’ (scored 2),
‘Medium priority’ (scored 3),
‘High priority’ (scored 4),
‘Very high priority’ (scored 5) or
‘Don’t know’ (scored 0). 

Questions were grouped into sections (e.g. Chemotherapy, Surgery, Side effects) and the sections were randomised online so that groups of questions did not always appear in the same order.  Scores were allocated to each of the answers, and the scores totalled for each type of respondent (patient, carers/families, healthcare professionals, or organisations).  This allows questions to be ranked in order for all of the groups, weighting them equally, and then finally to be given an overall ranking.  Paper copies of the survey were supplied to those who preferred not to complete it online.  A copy of the interim survey form is available in the Key Documents section of the Mesothelioma PSP.

The Stillbirth PSP used the following criteria to help narrow down the large list of uncertainties received into a shorter more manageable list for interim prioritisation.  It meant that questions proposed by one individual, or from only one group, would be prioritised lower than questions from several respondents from different disciplines.

  1. Questions suggested by more than one group (e.g. parents, midwives, obstetricians etc)
  2. Questions suggested by more than one group (ranked by number of individuals)
  3. Question is within a topic area suggested by more than one individual (e.g. fetal movements)
  4. Questions suggested in survey and guidelines.


The Diabetes (Type 1) PSP sent out a long list of 47 uncertainties, which the Steering Group had shortlisted from a much longer list, based on the original number of submissions. The interim prioritisation form which describes these, and asks partners to rank their interim top 10, is in the Key Documents section of the Diabetes (Type 1) PSP.

The Schizophrenia PSP conducted its interim prioritisation exercise by email. Partners were asked to choose and rank their top 10 schizophrenia treatment uncertainties from a long list of 237, which was organised into a taxonomy agreed by the Steering Group.

Eleven partners responded either as individuals, on behalf of an organisation or having consulted with colleagues and/or members. The submitted rankings were collated. Separate running totals were recorded for patient, carer and clinician submissions. This enabled the Steering Group to examine each groups' rankings, as well as their combined ranking, which ultimately determined the make-up of the shortlist.  This was provided as background information and was a useful discussion point at the final priority setting workshop. 

A shortlist of 26 treatment uncertainties was developed as this was the logical cut-off point. This was sent out to partners to rank once again in advance of the final priority setting workshop.