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The question of what makes ‘good medical ethics’ is explored focusing on the principles and values of the clinical professions, how these are integrated into patient care and shared with the wider public and on the central importance of good communication. The need for an effective learning base at all stages in professional careers is emphasised and the importance of measuring and monitoring outcomes of care and public health issues from an ethical perspective is discussed while acknowledging the difficulties of doing so. The possibility of establishing a wider forum to discuss this topic is mooted. The essay emphasises the importance of practising what we preach.