By Professor Raanan Gillon
In 1983 I started a one week CPD course in medical ethics to introduce doctors to several different approaches to ethics (currently deontology, consequentialism, virtue ethics, ‘the four principles approach’). The course considers a variety of problems in medical ethics including end of life issues, double effect, acts and omissions, killing vs allowing to die, paternalism versus respect for autonomy, truth-telling in medical practice, a session on ‘practical aspects of medical ethics’, fair distribution of resources, the relation of ethics and law, human rights and medical ethics. A half-day session is aimed at helping participants to understand opposing perspectives by means of an exercise in developing arguments explicitly opposing participants’ own viewpoints concerning cases that they have found troubling. Overall satisfaction of previous participants has always (over the last 33 years!) been at an average level of 9+ on a ten-point scale so I am confident that doctors who come on the course do find it very worthwhile. Comments from participants have included “The best post-graduate experience of my career” and “A first class course to put your ethical thinking into perspective and relate [it] to present day healthcare…”.
The course is in English and UK doctors are the main attenders but we usually have some international visitors whose perspectives add value to the experience, as do the various others who come- among them nurses clinical ethics committee members, medical ethicists, health managers and even the occasional vet.
If you are interested in attending please visit the CPD website www.imperial.ac.uk/cpd
Professor Raanan Gillon
Emeritus Professor of Medical Ethics,
Imperial College London