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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

COVID-19’s Impact on Ethical Care

Dr Melinee Kazarian, Mr Andrew Webb, Ms Elisabeth Kombate

The unforeseen and exceptional challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have placed a substantial strain on healthcare resources.

Among the numerous ethical dilemmas brought to the forefront by this pandemic, one of the most significant is the potential necessity for healthcare systems to allocate limited critical care resources and modify treatment approaches for both urgent and routine medical issues. In doing so, they must carefully balance considerations of distributive justice and the protection of patients and healthcare professionals on one side, and individual benefit and autonomy on the other. These decisions may have enduring consequences for the established ethical values and principles that have traditionally guided the patient provider relationship.


This briefing document aims to encapsulate the challenges encountered by healthcare professionals throughout this crisis while offering valuable insights and lessons to guide the development of a resilient healthcare system rooted in ethical principles.

Read the policy brief

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