Health care professionals often encounter ethical dilemmas or concerns regarding the care of their patients. These can range from high profile conflicts about life sustaining treatment to less emotive concerns about whether to share information about a patient with their family or how to respond to a patient with fluctuating capacity who is refusing treatment. In many countries, including the UK, health care professionals, and sometimes patients and their families, seek support in resolving these ethical concerns from clinical ethicists or clinical ethics committees. In the UK many NHS Trusts have a clinical ethics committee and the UK Clinical Ethics Network supports their work (www.ukcen.net).
Anne Slowther has been involved in the development of clinical ethics committees in the UK since 2000 and is a member of the UKCEN Board of Trustees. She has an interest in the evaluation of clinical ethics support services, and alternative models of clinical ethics support.
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