Fairness, Ethnicity, and COVID-19 Ethics:A Discussion of How the Focus on Fairness in Ethical Guidance During the Pandemic Discriminates Against People From Ethnic Minority Backgrounds

Abstract

Recent weeks have seen an increased focus on the ethical response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ethics guidance has proliferated across Britain, with ethicists and those with a keen interest in ethics in their professions working to produce advice and support for the National Health Service. The guiding principles of the pandemic have emerged, in one form or another, to favour fairness, especially with regard to allocating resources and prioritizing care. However, fairness is not equivalent to equity when it comes to healthcare, and the focus on fairness means that existing guidance inadvertently discriminates against people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Drawing on early criticisms of existing clinical guidance (for example, the frailty decision tool) and ethical guidance in Britain, this essay will discuss the importance of including sociology, specifically the relationship between ethnicity and health, in any ethical and clinical guidance for care during the pandemic in the United Kingdom. To do otherwise, I will argue, would be actively choosing to allow a proportion of the British population to die for no other reason than their ethnic background. Finally, I will end by arguing why sociology must be a key component in any guidance, outlining how sociology was incorporated into the cross-college guidance produced by the Royal College of Physicians.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-020-09999-2
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC)
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Policy
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19,Ethical guidelines,Ethnic minorities,Health inequalities,Pandemic ethics,Social sciences and ethics,Health(social science),Health Policy
Publication ISSN: 1176-7529
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://link.sp ... 673-020-09999-2 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-12
Published Online Date: 2020-08-25
Accepted Date: 2020-07-20
Authors: Paton, Alexis (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4310-6983)

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