applied clinical ethics

Dates to be confirmed

Course details

The UK's first professional course in clinical ethics designed specifically for practising clinicians.  No prior knowledge of academic medical ethics or moral philosophy needed. Led by two highly regarded and experienced teachers.


More than ever before, clinicians are confronted with complex ethical issues in their medical practice.  These include disagreements between patients, relatives, and healthcare staff over treatment decisions, issues at the beginning and end of life, medical errors, truth-telling and patient confidentiality.  Recognising the growing importance of ethical awareness in medicine, the recent Ethics in Practice report of the Royal College of Physicians (2005) concluded that key medical personnel should be suitably trained in clinical ethics.  Increasingly, formal examinations in medicine and nursing assess applicants on aspects of clinical ethics.

Now in its ninth year the Applied Clinical Ethics (ACE) course is aimed at practising clinicians, allied professionals and members of CECs, focusing entirely on clinical ethics and practical decision-making.  Many of the speakers are both clinicians and ethicists.  The convenient arrangement of two modules, falling on a Friday/Saturday, will enable delegates to apply their knowledge in between modules and interfere less with their work commitments.

Sir William Osler famously noted that physicians need a clear head and a kind heart.  This course offers the participants the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills, to share perspectives, to analyse clinical ethical issues in a clear and rigorous manner, and to consider the values underpinning their practice.

More information

The course aims to provide clinicians with added knowledge, skills and confidence to enable judicious ethical decisions in their everyday practice, and to be able to articulate (both to themselves and others) the reasoning and values underpinning their decisions.  

It should provide participants with a greater understanding of core ethical issues in clinical practice, as well as the analytic tools to perform an in-depth ethics case analysis and to assist colleagues in their ethical decision-making. This course also aims to inspire and enthuse participants to enrich their practice. 
Many ACE participants have gone on to set up ethics teaching programmes, undertake higher degrees, write articles, or become involved in clinical ethics committees and research projects.

This course is intended for hospital doctors, surgeons, general practitioners, nurses, managers, hospital chaplains and members of clinical ethics committees.  Applicants must possess a professional or academic degree from an accredited institution and be actively engaged in healthcare.  A small number of non-medical participants are welcome.  

Previous courses had have participants including surgeons, intensivists, anaesthetists, paediatricians, palliative care specialists, junior doctors, GPs and nurses.

The course consists of two 2-day modules which are a series of interactive seminars, usually followed by group discussions based on the issues raised by the speakers.  Each module focuses on core aspects of clinical ethics.

The previous course was approved for 6 CPD credits per day by the Royal College of Physicians. 

All participants will be awarded a Certificate of Attendance on completion of the course.

The Applied Clinical Ethics course will allow participants to:

  • Obtain a clearer appreciation of the range of ethical issues in their practice
  • Understand key concepts in clinical ethics
  • Acquire conceptual frameworks useful for ethical analysis
  • Enrich perspectives by sharing their views with colleagues
  • Explore theories, concepts and reasoning that support or challenge their existing assumptions and beliefs
  • Be taught by recognised experts in clinical ethics and related fields
  • Help them satisfy the ethical requirements in formal medical examinations
"Informative and clinically useful. The speakers are of outstanding quality."

"Very useful and highly practical insight into clinical ethics."

"Thank you, it’s been a really well-run course with excellent speakers and a great learning opportunity."