medical ethics

Dates TBC - Online 

Course details

  • Duration: 6 days - Live online sessions via Zoom
  • Fees:
    - £630 / 6 days
    - £175 / single day
  • 10% discount for ICHNT staff (Please contact CPD for the booking)
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Members of the medical professions are repeatedly faced by ethical dilemmas in the course of their normal working lives.

For instance, is it right or wrong to “facilitate” the death of someone experiencing irremediable pain in the late stages of terminal illness?

How should scarce resources of time, money and skill be apportioned by medical practitioners and medical administrators between the diversity of medical needs that present themselves daily?

What are the rights and wrongs of being “economical with the truth” when telling patients about their medical condition? How much should the doctor’s view of what should be done and not done to benefit a patient over-ride the patient’s view?

All too often, issues such as these have been confronted somewhat tangentially and briefly during the training of medical, nursing and allied professionals, and tackled subsequently with uneasy pragmatism by practitioners. In particular, reasoned argument has not been encouraged in many traditional courses.

This popular course will be run online, with  live lectures and workshops and will be held in six one day modules on consecutive Thursdays and Fridays. It will cover the following topics:

  • Day 1 - Introductory philosophical theory and theories concerned with duties and rights, maximising welfare and virtue ethics
  • Day 2 - More introductory theory; the value of life and the scope of morality: religion and ethics in a pluralist society: the relation of law and ethics:  what can medical ethics learn from medical humanities?
  • Day 3 - Health economics and medical ethics- it’s not all about money; truth-telling and medical practice; paternalism and respect for autonomy in medicine; doctors’ duty of care and UK law
  • Day 4 - Practical aspects of clinical ethics; the four principles framework for commitments, analysis and communication in medical ethics and practice; moral argument about particular cases and an exercise in arguing against one’s own position
  • Day 5 - ‘Empirical ethics and Research ethics- what can medical ethics learn from science and vice versa?’; Staying compassionate in medical practice and medical ethics ; Contentious issues in medical ethics – understanding the arguments: abortion: Contentious issues in medical ethics- voluntary euthanasia and ‘physician assisted dying’  
  • Day 6 - Justice  and health care; international  medical ethics- the World Medical Association perspective; human rights and medical ethics; trying to be fair in practice

 For the schedule please click here.

More information

Course aims

This course, which started in 1983, has been designed to provide medical, nursing and allied professionals - whether as teachers of emerging professionals, or as practising professionals at different stages in their careers - with an extended and intensive opportunity to review and update their approach to the analysis of key “medico-moral” issues, with the help of leading authorities in the field of medical ethics and related disciplines.

It is also designed to be helpful to members of ethics committees, whether or not they are health professionals, and to others professionally involved with the ethical issues of health care.

Specifically, the course will:

  • Clarify the meaning and significance of key ethical concepts.
  • Outline important types of ethical theory, and their relevance to medical ethics.
  • Offer a conceptual framework useful for ethical analysis of medico-moral problems in a variety of professional contexts.
  • Give opportunities to participants - under supportive conditions - to articulate their current medico- moral attitudes and explore reasoned arguments that challenge their existing assumptions and ethical stances.

Who should attend?

The course is intended to cater for medical, nursing and allied professionals and administrators who feel the need for an opportunity to review and update their thinking about ethical issues - including medical and nursing teachers, nurses, GPs, hospital doctors, public health doctors,  members of ethics committees, hospital administrators, and officials in government departments with responsibilities for health care.


Course methods

The course, delivering over six 1-day modules, consists of a series of lecture/seminars followed by small and large group discussions focused on the issues raised by the lecturers. One module  will include presentation of arguments opposed to the position actually held by course members, in the context of a particular case.

CPD Approval and Certificate of Attendance

This course is approved by the Royal College of Physicians for 30 CPD credits.

In previous years when the PGEA approval scheme for general practice existed the course was always approved under the following categories:

  • Health Promotion and Prevention of Illness (8 hrs)
  • Disease Management (10 hrs)
  • Service Management (8 hrs)

All participants will be awarded a digital Imperial College London Certificate of Attendance on completion of the course.

Comments from past participants

"Recently, I spent a week at Imperial College in London on a course about medical ethics. It was run by Professor Raanan Gillon and has been the best post-graduate experience of my career."

"Medical ethics is the examination of the concepts, assumptions, beliefs, emotions and arguments that underpin decision-making in medicine - what ought and ought not to be done by medical and nursing professionals in the course of their work."

"A first class course to put your ethical thinking into perspective and relate to present day healthcare topics/issues. Recommend for new and older practitioners alike because it had something for everyone."