COVID-19 is a wake-up call for ethical health communication

By Jamie Carlin Watson Increased understanding of social determinants of health and health literacy have expanded the responsibilities of the medical community from patients in the clinic to citizens at increased health risks. Fulfilling these responsibilities involves, in part, distributing timely and accurate health information that is accessible, understandable, and usable. Though increased commitment to […]

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How should non-life-saving surgery be rationed?

Helen Turnham, Guy Thorburn and Dominic Wilkinson. The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a total shut down of elective surgery within the NHS. In the forthcoming months there will be re-initiation of elective surgery but at significantly reduced capacity. The combination of pre-existing backlog, a protracted period of no surgery and an anticipated future period of […]

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Sharing Patient Data for Research – a Matter Of Trust

By Rob Lawrence. Through a unique deliberative process involving public participation, we arrive at some conclusions which initially I found surprising (even counter-intuitive) about how best to foster trust in a large organisation such as the NHS, especially where use of patient data plays a key role in research. Using formal guidelines, ethics committees and […]

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What are Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson talking about when they talk about protecting the NHS? And why does it matter?

By Piyush Pushkar What is the NHS? “Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.” The UK government’s public health messaging from 20 March to 10 May was short and direct. The brevity suggests clarity of meaning, but that clarity begins to dissipate when one asks, “What is the NHS?” The short answer is that the […]

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What are the obligations of the state? A public mental health ethics perspective on the Covid-19 lockdowns

By Daisy Cheung and Eric C. Ip. The Covid-19 crisis has led to the unprecedented and widespread use of lockdown measures all over the world. With such drastic measures being imposed so widely and on such short notice, the concern is that the Covid-19 precedent, which has allowed the suspension of a wide range of […]

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Responding to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: Experiences of an ad hoc public health ethics consultation

By Verina Wild, Alena Buyx, Samia Hurst, Christian Munthe, Annette Rid, Daniel Strech, Alison Thompson. Clinical ethics consultations are a well established method to deal with ethically problematic situations in clinical care, even in emergency situations. But an emergency public health ethics consultation? This was unusual for most of us. Public health authorities in many […]

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Nanny on the bus: The ethics of banning food on public transport

By David Shaw The last report of the outgoing UK Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sally Davies, is entitled “Time to Solve Childhood Obesity”. It makes many sensible public health recommendations, including increases in the levy on sweet drinks and taxation on snacks, and reducing portion sizes and marketing aimed at children. But a different recommendation […]

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The ethics of disposing of amputated limbs

By Esmée Hanna and Glenn Robert Whilst ethical issues relating to the disposal of body parts generally are increasingly discussed (largely prompted by high profile organ retention scandals), what happens in the specific case of amputated limbs has not received much attention. Amputation is however increasingly common, in part due to growing rates of diabetes […]

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