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Table 5 Faces of acupuncture consumerism identified in this study

From: Patients as healthcare consumers in the public and private sectors: a qualitative study of acupuncture in the UK

Face of consumerism Description
Consumer as smart [26] chooser Makes an active and informed decision, selecting acupuncture from a number of other options and making an informed decision to access it in a specific setting. (Very rare in this study.)
Consumer as chooser* Makes an active decision, selecting acupuncture from a number of other options.
Consumer as patient An offer of acupuncture is accepted within the context of a therapeutic relationship.
Consumer as earnest explorer [25]* Acupuncture is something new to be tried, amongst a universe of many possible therapies, in the context of an embodied need for treatment.
Consumer as pragmatist Emphasises the likely effectiveness of acupuncture in a particular setting and the actual effectiveness of it once experienced.
Consumer as hedonist* Uses a particular form of healthcare to experience its positive emotional effects (only seen as attributed to the private sector by NHS patients).
Consumer as victim [14] Is vulnerable and requires protection from unscrupulous healthcare practitioners or providers who might defraud them or otherwise cause harm.
Consumer as citizen [14] Whose choice to use private or public sector healthcare is made within the context of moral and social implications of private sector involvement in healthcare provision.
  1. *Adapted from Gabriel and Lang [14]