There are several features of general practice which, taken together, make it a unique branch of medicine. General practitioners provide primary care which is comprehensive in nature; they are committed to seeing patients presenting with any kind of query, symptom or problem. The care they provide is ongoing, providing the opportunity to gather a large amount of information about their patients, and to develop personal relationships over time. These features affect the nature of ethical issues presenting in general practice in a number of ways, and raise ethical dilemmas not present in secondary and tertiary medical care. This book provides an accessible account of ethics in general practice, addressing concerns identified by practitioners. It is based on examples from general practice, and uses a contents list developed through discussions with GPs, trainers and GP registrars. In this clear and well-written book, the authors dispel the common perception that ethical analysis is too abstract or esoteric to be useful in the real world of complex problems and difficult decisions.
Readers will gain practical insights into how to identify and analyse the ethical issues they encounter on a daily basis. The book shows how moral concepts and arguments can provide a way forward, or clarify practical responses in everyday general practice.
Table of Contents
Foreword ; Introduction ; 1. General Practice and ethics ; 2. Trust and the doctor-patient relationship ; 3. Confidentiality in general practice ; 4. Beneficence, or does the doctor know best? ; 5. Justice and resource allocation in general practice ; 6. Making decisions: patient autonomy in general practice ; 7. Ethical issues at the beginning of life ; 8. Ethical issues at the end of life ; 9. Role conflicts in general practice ; 10. On being a good doctor: virtues in general practice ; General reading and resources for medical ethics