Healthcare Allocation

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre
Paper $22
256 pages

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Healthcare Allocation

An Ethical Framework for Public Policy

Fisher, Anthony, O.P. and Gormally, Luke, editors

This volume argues that there is a need for an alternative to prevailing understandings of the ethical requirements which healthcare allocation policy should meet. It offers a detailed critique both of liberal-welfarist and utilitarian approaches to healthcare allocation. The authors maintain that an ethically adequate approach to resource allocation in healthcare must be based on specific ('contentfull') understandings of the human person, of human needs, of human community and the common good, and of the nature of healthcare. Only if policy is informed by such understandings can it avoid serious injustice to patients and the abandonment of values essential to healthcare practice. The volume details the normative requirements allocation policy should meet, and highlights injustices which are encouraged by current tendencies in policy, reinforced by decisions in the courts.

‘This book, produced on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Joint Bioethics Committee and expertly edited into a well-ordered discussion, is a useful contribution whatever the reader’s religious stance.... The critique of some of the established processes and their justification is particularly valuable.’ Andrew Wall Health Services Management Research

‘There is a useful section...on the definition of the terms used and on the background to resource allocation and the problem of rationing. There is a fascinating analysis of the ways forward: spend more, be more efficient, distribute better....[This book] presents a coherent analysis of the ethical issues surrounding resource allocation and rationing. Second, it provides a framework around which decision-making can take place.’ Sir Kenneth C Calman Catholic Medical Quarterly