What is good medical ethics? A clinician's perspective

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Abstract

Speaking from the perspective of a clinician and teacher, good medical ethics needs to make medicine better. Over the past 50□years medical ethics has helped shape the culture in medicine and medical practice for the better. However, recent healthcare scandals in the UK suggest more needs to be done to translate ethical reasoning into ethical practice. Focusing on clinical practice and individual patient care, I will argue that, to be good, medical ethics needs to become integral to the activities of health professionals and healthcare organisations. Ethics is like a language which brings a way of thinking and responding to the world. For ethics to become embedded in clinical practice, health professionals need to progress from classroom learners to fluent social speakers through ethical dialogue, ethical reflection and ethical actions. I will end by discussing three areas that need to be addressed to enable medical ethics to flourish and bring about change in everyday clinical care.

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