The process, which ran in 2002, was one of the few applications of the Deliberative Mapping Method. It was used to bring citizens and experts together to discuss the disparity between the high number of kidneys required and the limited supply available in the form of donors.
The ‘kidney gap’ is a crucial challenge facing health care providers and one which lacks clear cut answers. For this end, it was important to get a measured public view on the available options which range from types of transplant surgery to better public education. Deliberative Mapping makes such a debate possible, it brings ordinary citizens and experts to the same table to share ideas and view issues through different perspectives, whilst seeking to prevent the experts from dominating the discussion.
Its purpose was twofold:
• First, to explore the 'kidney gap,' i.e. the question of how to reduce the gap between the number of people who are waiting for kidney transplants and the much lower number of donor kidneys available. This is a crucial challenge facing health care providers and one which lacks clear cut answers. For this end, it was important to get a measured public view on the options.
• Second, the project aimed to develop and trial Deliberative Mapping.
34 citizens from North London of different age, ethnicity and socio-economic background were recruited to participate in the exercise, along with 17 specialists from a variety of relevant organisations and disciplines. Citizens and specialists were tasked with learning more about potential options for dealing with the kidney gap and assessing their performance against a range of criteria. The different groups registered similar preferences: technology-intense options like xenotransplantation (inter-species transplant) scored badly, while preventive care and improvements to existing services scored highly.
Participants from the citizenry expressed a feeling of ownership over the results of the process. They valued the opportunity to learn, have access to information and meet specialists in order to engage with the issues. The specialists felt that they learned about the citizens' ability to participate in scientific and technical decision-making.
See the final report which is available online:
Gail Davies, Jacquie Burgess, Malcolm Eames, Sue Mayer, Kristina Staley, Andy Stirling and Suzanne Williamson, "Deliberative Mapping: Appraising Options for Addressing ‘the Kidney Gap’", October 2003.
Dr Andrew Stirling: Senior Lecturer, SPRU The Freeman Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QE, telephone: 01273 877118 Fax: 01273 685865 Email: A.C.Stirling@sussex.ac.uk.
Gather informed and considered opinions (deliberation)
Number of participants
A Group which broadly reflects the Demographic make up of a certain community or population
Level of awareness and interest
participants need information and cannot articulate their interests
Health and well-being
Science and technology
Limit search to...
... face to face processes
Level of involvement