module specification

SH7053 - Ethical Issues in Healthcare (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19, but may be subject to modification
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Ethical Issues in Healthcare
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 200
64 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
100 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 30%   Oral Presentation
Coursework 70%   Essay
Running in 2018/19 No instances running in the year

Module summary

 This module provides an opportunity for in-depth enquiry at advanced level into the ethical dimensions of contemporary healthcare, and examines the application of ethical theories and approaches to practical dilemmas in healthcare.

Prior learning requirements



 The place of ethics in healthcare. A review of normative ethical theories and approaches relevant to healthcare policy and practice. Law, policy and codes of ethics in healthcare. Various topics which may include: autonomy, competence and consent in healthcare; resource allocation and priority setting in healthcare; Fairness & equity in healthcare; Public health ethics; QUALY systems; cultural diversity in healthcare; human rights and healthcare;  ethics of the health-worker/patient relationship; ethical dimensions of various practices in primary care & wider health-related contexts; how social theories can contribute to an understanding of ethical dilemmas in healthcare, etc. All LO1-3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module teaching is based on weekly lectures and seminar classes, where specific group-work exercises have been developed to provide students with an opportunity to examine in more detail some of the main conceptual and methodological issues covered in lectures.

The approach to teaching is based on facilitating the application of concepts, methods and principles to practice-related contexts, and students’ integration of learning in relation to real world scenarios. This approach to teaching aims to develop students’ ability to think critically about data and evidence, and to draw appropriate inferences in accordance with the stated learning outcomes.

The above teaching methods will be complemented by students’ independent study on the module. Students will be required to read, on a weekly basis, recommended chapters in the core textbook, or to access other relevant educational material.

The module will be using WebLearn - guidance will be given during the module about how to best use this. It is designed to support students learning providing access to wider reading and resources to help to prepare for each session e.g. websites, policy documents and articles and or to revise and deepen knowledge after sessions e.g. lecture notes. Students are encouraged to use other learning resources such as the Library and Academic Mentors and WebLearn.

Learning outcomes

 On successful completion of this module student will be able to:
1.    identify and demonstrate a systematic understanding of the ethical dimensions of current issues in healthcare, and be able to locate those aspects within the framework of normative ethics and ethical decision-making.
2.    demonstrate capacities for ethical decision-making in healthcare based around critical evaluation of complex situations
3.    demonstrate the ability to reflect critically on personal ethical beliefs with respect to issues in healthcare

Assessment strategy

 This module will be assessed by two components:
1. oral presentation
2. a coursework essay (3000 words) focussing on the application of ethical theories or approaches to an ethical dilemma in healthcare


 Ashcroft, R et al (eds) Principles of Healthcare Ethics, Wiley & Sons, 2007 (e-book).
Brazier, M. Medicine, Patients and the Law, 6th ed, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2016.
British Medical Association, The Medical Profession and Human Rights: A Handbook for a Changing Agenda, London: BMA, 2001
Chadwick R. & Levitt M. (eds) Ethical Issues in Community Health Care, 1998, London: Arnold
Fulford B., Dickenson D. & Murray T.H.(eds.) Healthcare Ethics and Human Values,  Oxford: Blackwell, 2002
Harris, D, Contemporary Issues in Healthcare Law and Ethics, 4th ed, Health Administration Press, 2014
Harris, J.  Bioethics, Oxford, 2001
Montgomery J. Health Care Law, 3rd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005
Seedhouse, D.  Ethics: The Heart of Healthcare, 3rd ed, Wiley Blackwell, 2009
Singer, P. Practical Ethics, Cambridge University Press, 3rd ed, 2011
Veatch, R. et al, Case Studies in Biomedical Ethics, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Journal of Medical Ethics
Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics