Our final 2015 Lent Lecture is on Thursday March 19th, 12–1 pm.
Moot Court, Somerset House East Wing, SW1.18, Dickson Poon School of Law, Strand Campus, King’s College London.
Thursday March 19th, 12 – 1 pm
Dr Jeff Round, Principal Research Associate, University College London Clinical Trials Unit
‘Caring for the incurable: ethics and cost-effectiveness in resource allocation decision making for people who lack capacity’
A primary concern of economics is the allocation of society’s scarce resources. This is especially true in the field of health and social care. Where budgets are limited, the act of allocating resources to provide care to one individual is necessarily the act of denying those resources for caring for some other, usually unidentified, individual. This gives rise to important ethical questions. What are the objectives of the system in allocating resources? What are the mechanisms by which society determines who gets treatment? What impact do these criteria have on different groups of people? Much of economic evaluation methodology has been developed in the context of treatments intended to cure people or in some other way extend their lives. But what happens when the focus turns towards non-curative treatment? Are evaluation methodologies fit for purpose? What are the implications for efficiency and equity in a healthcare system of a one-size fits all approach to evaluation? This talk will explore how society allocates its health and social care resources to very vulnerable populations. In particular I will consider those who lack capacity and for whom cure is not the intended aim of care. I address how we allocate resources to these patients and the ethical implications of the decision making processes.