The British Medical Association (BMA) is calling for an urgent review of
training procedures to help doctors deal with increasingly complex ethical and
The BMA believes doctors are unprepared for many of the ethical issues they
have to face, with more than 1,400 visitors accessing its online ethical
guidance in the past month alone.
Doctors’ anxiety over the issue is growing despite every trust having an
ethics committee, created specifically to address the subject.
The dilemmas doctors face every day range from questions about the rights of
unmarried fathers, to decisions about children’s medical care, as well as
questions regarding when life-prolonging treatment can be withdrawn from
The BMA told Personnel Today that while medical ethics are now an accepted
part of undergraduate courses, the quality and quantity of teaching varies
The organisation believes that as medicine advances, ethics training must
become a life-long process.
Peter King, executive officer at the Association of Healthcare Human
Resource Management, said that ethical concerns were being fuelled by more
inspections and the growth of a society where people were increasingly prepared
to challenge the decisions of doctors.