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Waiting List: the number of people awaiting admission to hospital as inpatients.

Waiting Period: the period an insured or covered person has to wait before he or she qualifies for benefits.

Waiting Time: the time which elapses between 1) the request by a general practitioner for an appointment and the attendance of the patient at the outpatients' department, or 2) the date a patient's name is put on an inpatients' list and the date he is admitted.

Washington Consensus: This is the set of 10 policies that the US government and the international financial institutions based in the US capital believed were necessary elements of "first stage policy reform" that all countries should adopt to increase economic growth. At its heart is an emphasis on the importance of macroeconomic stability and integration into the international economy - in other words a neo-liberal view of globalization. The framework included:

  • Fiscal discipline - strict criteria for limiting budget deficits
  • Public expenditure priorities - moving them away from subsidies and administration towards previously neglected fields with high economic returns
  • Tax reform - broadening the tax base and cutting marginal tax rates
  • Financial liberalization - interest rates should ideally be market-determined
  • Exchange rates - should be managed to induce rapid growth in non-traditional exports
  • Trade liberalization
  • Increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) - by reducing barriers
  • Privatization - state enterprises should be privatized
  • Deregulation - abolition of regulations that impede the entry of new firms or restrict competition (except in the areas of safety, environment and finance)
  • Secure intellectual property rights (IPR) - without excessive costs and available to the informal sector
  • Reduced role for the state.
These ideas proved very controversial, both inside and outside the Bretton Woods Institutions. However, they were implemented through conditionality under International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank guidance. They are now being replaced by a post-Washington consensus.

Weighted Sample: a sample that is not strictly proportional to the distribution of classes in the total population. A weighted sample has been adjusted to include larger proportions of some other parts of the total population, because those parts accorded greater "weight" would otherwise not have the sufficient numbers in the sample to lead to generalizable conclusions.

Well-Being Impact Assessment: well-being impact assessment is difficult to distinguish from HIA although it could be argued that, instead of looking at all aspects of health, including medical factors, it concentrates primarily on aspects of quality of life and physical and mental well being.

Western Blot: a technique, conceptually related to the Southern and Northern blot that is used to detect specific proteins. A technique used to identify and locate proteins based on their ability to bind to specific antibodies. See also -- DNA, Northern blot, protein, RNA, Southern blotting.

WHO Network of Collaborating Clinical Trial Registers (The Register Network): the Register Network is a forum for registers to exchange information and work together to establish best practice for clinical trial registration.

Wild Type: the form of an organism that occurs most frequently in nature. The term used to describe the normal gene or gene product. In contrast, a gene that has had its DNA sequence altered is referred to as a mutant gene, and its resultant product is a mutant protein. A gene that encodes a proto-oncogene, for example, is a wild-type gene because it is unaltered.

Willingness To Pay: how far a person or group is prepared to pay for particular goods or services.

Workers Compensation: a mandatory insurance program covering the costs of medical treatment and disability due to work-related accidents and illness.

Working Draft DNA Sequence: see -- Draft DNA Sequence.

Working Group: in contrast to a steering group, a working group convened for the purpose of carrying out usually consists of those charged with carrying out the work on a day to day basis. Typically it might include people with a range of complementary public health skills such as project management, epidemiology, statistical analysis and presentation, questionnaire design and community development (Barnes and MacArthur, 2000).

Workshops: workshops involve bringing together a group of people for a specific purpose. In HIA this might include, for example, identifying key stakeholders' health concerns in relation to the policy, program or project being addressed, identifying sources of current knowledge in relation to the evidence base or training staff in HIA techniques. Workshops are usually structured in some way with a mixture of presentations and "hands on" participative work.

WPA: World Psychiatric Association.

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