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Ethics and economics: the case for mental healthcare

  • Sarah Byford and Barbara Barrett

Summary

In making treatment decisions, psychiatrists, like other medical professionals, must adhere to rules of ethical medical conduct. They may also need to negotiate the legalities associated with detention and treatment against a patient's wishes. The growth in guidance produced by organisations such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has added further complexity. Practitioners are increasingly required to consider cost-effectiveness in their treatment decisions and this can appear to conflict with the principles of medical ethics. With particular reference to mental healthcare, this article attempts to answer two questions: Is economic evaluation unethical? And are the methods of economic evaluation unsound for the purpose of achieving an ethical distribution of resources?

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Sarah Byford, Centre for the Economics of Mental Health, Box 24, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF. Email: s.byford@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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For a commentary on this article see pp. 474–475, this issue.

Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 1355-5146
  • EISSN: 1472-1481
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Ethics and economics: the case for mental healthcare

  • Sarah Byford and Barbara Barrett
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