By Professor Raanan Gillon
In 1983, as a hybrid of NHS GP and philosopher, I started the Imperial College 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.
This year the last day of the course – which always looks at issues of justice in medical ethics- will be in the form of a stand-alone one day conference to which people interested to explore this complex component of medical and health care ethics can subscribe if they are unable to attend the entire intensive five day course. Seven plenary speakers will approach the subject from their varied perspectives- philosophy (James Wilson), care ethics (Ann Gallagher), health inequalities (Sir Michael Marmot), health economics (Richard Cookson), medical law (Emily Jackson), human rights (Julian Sheather) and medical ethics (Albert Weale). There will be no small group discussions but time is built in for audience participation.
For further information and to register for this course please visit http://www.imperial.ac.uk/continuing-professional-development/short-courses/medicine/ethics/medical-ethics/