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EthicsContemporary challenges in health and social care$
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Audrey Leathard and Susan McLaren

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781861347558

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861347558.001.0001

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Ethics and primary health care

Ethics and primary health care

(p.68) (p.69) Five Ethics and primary health care

Charles Campion-Smith

Policy Press

This chapter discusses the ethical aspects of everyday work in primary health care in the UK. The four main ethical concepts described in Chapter Two – beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice – are reviewed within the context of primary health care. The chapter discusses issues such as the conflicting responsibilities for primary health professionals in their duty of care to an individual and to the greater community. It considers the implications of evidence-based clinical care and the concept of clinical equipoise, as well as issues of competence and consent. The uncertain and complex world of primary health care is described as the setting for these issues, and the allocation of restricted resources is reviewed. The need to take into account patients' views, beliefs, and values, as well as implications for teaching and research in primary care, are discussed. Future challenges, including the implications of the 2006 White Paper, Our health, our care, our say, are also considered.

Keywords:   ethical issues, beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, justice, health professionals, duty of care, evidence-based care, clinical equipoise

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