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Medical ethics: an excuse for inefficiency?
  1. G Mooney


    There is frequently an appearance of conflict between medicine and economics. This arises first because the nature of health and health care requires the doctor to make decisions on behalf of the patient and thus serves to explain why medical ethics exist. But secondly it is due to the relative lack of acceptance of the ethics of the common good within medical ethics. As a result while economics in the field of health has as an objective the maximisation of the health of the community, subject to resource constraints, medical ethics pushes individual doctors to try to maximise the health of their patients. There is no reason to believe that the latter will sum to the former. To make the maximisation of health of the community the goal of the medical profession requires institutional changes, particularly with regard to budgeting, which will cajole and if necessary coerce doctors to adopt the good of the community as their objective.

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