BMA guidance

COVID-19: ethical issues

Guidance for doctors on ethical issues that could arise when providing care and treatment during COVID-19, including resource, withdrawing treatment and maintaining essential services.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
Topics: COVID 19, Ethics

What you will get from this guidance

  • An outline of the major ethical issues you may encounter
  • Guidance on good decision making


How to use this guide

This guidance is produced to support the easy read FAQs on the same topic. It explores in more detail the ethical issues likely to be encountered during the COVID-19 outbreak and what good decision making requires.

BMA statement

The statement below addresses in more detail the relationship between our guidance and those patients who are elderly or who have disabilities.

It emphasises that neither age nor disability are in themselves relevant criteria for making decisions about treatment.

Listen to the audio briefing

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  • An ethical framework
  • Resource allocation
  • Triage
  • Medical utility
  • Withdrawing or withholding treatment
  • Discrimination and equality legislation
  • The impact on general practice
  • Liability issues
  • The importance of fair process