The issue of assessing priorities is one that has become the subject of much debate in the National Health Service particularly in the wake of various documents on priorities from central Government. It has become even more so with the prospect of real cuts in expenditure. Economists claim that their science, or perhaps more accurately art can assist in determining not only how best to achieve various ends but also whether and to what extent competing objectives should be pursued. Such choices cannot be made in the absence of some ethical considerations and it is important that health service decision makers (and in particular the medical profession) are aware if the relationship between economics (and especially cost-benefit analysis) and medical ethics.
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