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Ethics - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Ethics. And a little bit about law. Ethics isn’t a woolly subject …. You need principles, and you need to think clearly. Principles. Beneficence Non maleficence Respect for autonomy Justice. Moral theories. Virtue (Aristotle) Duty (Kant) Utility (Bentham, Mill) Rights (20th century).

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And a little bit about law

  • Beneficence
  • Non maleficence
  • Respect for autonomy
  • Justice
moral theories
Moral theories
  • Virtue (Aristotle)
  • Duty (Kant)
  • Utility (Bentham, Mill)
  • Rights (20th century)
areas raising ethical considerations
Professional duties



Reproductive issues

End of life issues

Mental health



Rationing (resource allocation)


Areas raising ethical considerations
legal aspects of consent
Legal aspects of consent
  • Form of consent (implied or explicit)
  • Treatment without consent could lead to charge or battery (criminal or civil law) or negligence (civil law)
  • How much information should we give?
  • Who can give legally valid consent?
  • Who has capacity to consent?
  • All personal info given to a health professional must be treated confidentially except in particular circumstances
  • This includes friends and relatives
  • Duty of confidentiality continues after death
  • Most breaches of confidentiality are inadvertent
exceptions to confidentiality
Exceptions to confidentiality
  • Patient’s consent
  • Need to know
  • Statutory duty (eg DVLC)
  • Instruction from Judge (in Court or via a warrant under Police and Criminal Evidence Act
  • Wider public interest
  • Child Protection
access to information
Access to information
  • Data Protection Act 1984 (computer records)
  • Access to Health Records Act 1991(manual records)
  • Access to Medical Records Act 1988 (medical reports)
  • Data Protection Act 2000 (access to all records)
  • Safeguards against having to disclose harmful or third party information
other important legal areas
Other important legal areas
  • Mental Health Act
  • Reproductive Issues
  • End of Life Issues
  • Human Rights Act
  • Ethics in General Practice - a practical handbook for personal development - Anne Orme-Smith and John Spicer. Radcliffe Medical Press 2001
  • Uzma’s confidentiality document
  • More scenarios on VTS website