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Ethical framework for adult social care in COVID-19
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  1. Charlotte Bryony Elves,
  2. Jonathan Herring
  1. Exeter College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Charlotte Bryony Elves, University of Oxford Exeter College, Oxford OX1 3DP, UK; charlotte.elves{at}law.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

In March 2020, the Government produced a document entitled “Responding to COVID-19: The Ethical Framework for Adult Social Care” (‘The Ethical Framework’). In this article, we summarise the key features of the proposed ethical framework and subject it to critical analysis. We highlight three primary issues. First, the emphasis placed on autonomy as the primary ethical principle. We argue if ever there was a context in which autonomy should dominate the ethical analysis, this is not it. Second, we examine the interface between ethics and law which is largely overlooked in the document. Finally, we explore the surprising lack of attention paid to the concept of responsibility and communal obligations within the framework.

  • allocation of health care resources
  • autonomy
  • law
  • philosophical ethics
  • regulation

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @charlotte_elves

  • Contributors The authors are the sole contributors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No data are available

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