Thursday, 12 November 2020

Take sustainability serious in healthcare to avoid harming future patients!


In a brand new blog post at the BMJ Journal of Medical Ethics blog, me, Davide Fumagalli and Erik Malmqvist write about a severe ethical challenge for healthcare systems that arises due to structural deficiencies in established systems for healthcare resource allocation: 

 Most countries with publicly funded healthcare systems have ethically informed priority setting schemes to decide how to allocate scarce resources. Established principles in such schemes recognise patients’ need of care, the effects of interventions, and background requirements of equal consideration and cost-effectiveness. However, the typical use of such schemes is alarmingly short-sighted, systematically allowing the future resource base of healthcare to be undermined. In short: our way of helping current patients is systematically exposing future patients to serious harm and risk.

As a remedy, we propose that a sustainability principle is added to estableshed ethical framworks that govern this central aspect of health policy. Read more about the challenge, as well as our proposal over at the JME blog!