Durham University’s Martyn Evans makes the comments as the Healthcare Commission publishes its ‘State of Healthcare’ annual report (10 December).
Professor Evans argues that patients should comply with ten moral duties, which require them to look after themselves and others around them, and to use the NHS in a responsible way.
People who neglect their health and the health of others around them, or who misuse the healthcare available to them are draining the NHS scarce resources, says the researcher.
Professor Evans, from Durham University’s School of Medicine and Health, says:
“Widespread behaviour that is adverse to health and to the effectiveness of the NHS, such as binge drinking and missing GP appointments, is on the increase. There is clearly a need to state more clearly the responsibilities patients have to secure the future of the free public healthcare system.
“Right now, far too many people suppose that only doctors have duties, and that only patients have rights.”
Professor Evans, who has published an academic paper on patient duties, suggests individual patients should cooperate more fully with medical advice and treatment, be courteous to NHS staff, and follow health promotion guidelines.
Professor Evans explains: “I believe the duties I propose would make the healthcare system work more effectively for the individual patient, could speed up recovery, and overall would increase the availability of the healthcare resources for other patients. These duties are the reasonable ‘price’ of accessing scarce NHS resources that are held for the common good.
“They could not of course be enforced and perhaps they should not all be, even if they could. However, recognising them would contribute to a vitally important ‘culture shift’ in the expectations that people have of the NHS.”
In his paper, Professor Evans outlines ten moral duties. They recommend patients promote their own health both before and after illness, access healthcare in a responsible and truthful way, and in certain specific circumstances, take part in medical research.
Professor Evans comments: “The fact that falling ill is largely beyond the patient’s control, and the fact that most people have no choice but to rely on publicly funded healthcare from the NHS, all give added strength to the argument. They emphasise our common need for the same scarce resources, and our shared responsibility to make sure those resources are used most effectively, to the benefit of all of us.”
Professor Evans is a leading academic in medical humanities and a longstanding commentator on medicine.
The ten moral duties
1. Duty to participate in a ‘healthcare jurisdiction’
2. Duty to uphold his or her own health
3. Duty to protect the health of others
4. Duty to seek and access healthcare responsibly
5. Duty of truthfulness
6. Duty of compliance
7. Duty of inpatient conduct
8. Duty of recovery or maintenance
9. Duty of research participation
10. Duty of citizenship
Alex Thomas | alfa
Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways
28.06.2017 | University of Iowa Health Care
Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders
28.06.2017 | University of California - Davis
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine