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Ethics Case Consultation in Primary Care: Contextual Challenges for Clinical Ethicists


The development of ethics case consultation over the past 30 years, initially in North America and recently in Western Europe, has primarily taken place in the secondary or tertiary healthcare settings. The predominant model for ethics consultation, in some countries overwhelmingly so, is a hospital-based clinical ethics committee. In the United States, accreditation boards suggest the ethics committee model as a way of meeting the ethics component of the accreditation requirement for payment by Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), and in some European countries, there are legislatory requirements or government recommendations for hospitals to have clinical ethics committees. There is no corresponding pressure for primary care services to have ethics committees or ethics consultants to advise clinicians, patients, and families on the difficult ethical decisions that arise in clinical practice.

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Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • ISSN: 0963-1801
  • EISSN: 1469-2147
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-quarterly-of-healthcare-ethics
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