Pol-ethical considerations in public health.: The views of Swedish health care politicians
1999 (English)In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 9, no 2, 124-130 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background: Public health policy is often concerned with the conflicting values emanating from the individually formulated ethics for curative care and more collectively oriented ethics. In this study we have focused on the pol-ethical considerations involved in Swedish health care politicians' assessment of public health measures. Methods: We described a hypothetical situation in a questionnaire, where a community has a 50% excess mortality for disease X, compared to the national average. Scientific disagreements were identified and discussed. The respondents gave their preference for a specific intervention strategy and considered, on a graded scale, 17 different value statements related to ethical principles and intervention strategies. Results: Only one out of 451 politicians preferred the alternative ‘no intervention’. The majority preferred an intervention including active involvement of primary health care. There was overall strong support for equity and beneficence. A factor analysis gave a model for the association between ethical values, political affiliation and choice of intervention strategies. The relative weights of autonomy and equity were strongly related to political affiliation. Conclusions: Among Swedish health care politicians there is consensus about the value of performing interventions in public health when the problem is large, even if there is some uncertainty about the consequences. Their overall strong support for equity and beneficence implies that these principles are crucial when formulating policies for interventions. Politicians need to state their ethical standpoint explicitly so that we as citizens can judge their decisions and actions based on our own political ideology and support for basic ethical principles.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1999. Vol. 9, no 2, 124-130 p.
ethics, policy, public health
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3849DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/9.2.124OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-3849DiVA: diva2:142733