Ethical criteria for decision making

April 6, 2020

The Five Nations Care Forum has released a communication calling for ethical criteria for decision making when treating older people and those with disabilities.

The Forum, which comprises representative bodies from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, England and the Irish Republic, have individually and collectively been working hard to meet the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic facing each individual nation.

It has issued a joint statement to underline its shared conviction that the citizens who the forums' member organisations care for and support are at the heart and soul of the communities in which we live.

The letter states, 'In recent days we have seen a growing number of statements and guidance documents describe the ethical decision tools which may be necessary should our doctors have to prioritise patients for hospital admission and treatment.

'...We recognise that such decisions are inevitably hard and harrowing. However we are convinced that it is essential that a clear set of ethical and human rights principles should lie at the heart of any clinical guidance and criteria.'

It calls for governments to quickly publish ethical criteria for decision making and asks that:

  • All treatment decisions are based on an individual’s clinical health and potential outcomes.
  • The use of criteria based solely on age, or with a person’s age given undue weighting, is not allowed.
  • All citizens have equality of access and treatment to ensure the best clinical outcomes.
  • Those who happen to live in care homes should have equal and direct access to acute clinical services and support.

Read the full statement.

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