There have been several high-profile cases in the UK recently of healthcare teams and parents fundamentally disagreeing about the care of critically ill children. Disagreements of this kind have happened before, but these cases have attracted an unprecedented level of attention from professionals, policy makers, families and wider communities, and the media, both in the UK and internationally.

As part of our programme of active response activities, this short project will explore the wider social and medical factors that might be contributing to how such disagreements about the care of critically ill children develop. Focussing mainly on the UK, we will also explore how disagreements are currently being resolved. We are particularly interested in how parents and families are able to voice their views.

The issues raised are challenging for everyone involved, but the focus of our project will be the challenges raised for policy makers who have responsibilities to try to help all the parties concerned.

The project involves reviews of current research and academic opinion, a multi-disciplinary workshop, and one-to-one meetings.

The project resulted in the publication of a Bioethics briefing note that summarises the evidence and the potential challenges for policy makers.

For further information, please contact Catherine Joynson.

Previous work

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