Ethics tools for decision-makers: Responding to public health threats

Policy Briefing

Published 17/05/2022

Ethics tools first page

Drawing on our in-depth work on public health ethics, we have published ethics tools to help decision-makers develop a proportionate response to public health threats.

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Summary

  • The state has responsibilities to enable people to live healthy lives and reduce health inequalities.
  • There are no easy answers, but responses to public health threats can be guided by the values of reducing suffering, treating people with respect, and fairness.
  • Options for public health interventions range from doing nothing to removing choice altogether.
  • Decision makers should aim for a proportionate response that takes into account the nature and degree of the harm posed, the certainty of the evidence, the intrusiveness of the intervention, and the views of those affected.
  • The application of each intervention is likely to generate further ethical questions and decision makers need to be alert to the need for transparency and accountability in decision making processes.

Project team

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Catherine Joynson

Associate Director

Catherine is part of the senior management team. She is responsible for leading a range of Council projects including the active response programme and its horizon scanning work.

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