Ethical considerations arising from COVID-19


Psychiatrists are used to dealing with ethical issues in daily practice, but COVID-19 has pushed many into unfamiliar territory and challenged us with new ethical dilemmas. In this podcast, Dr Steve Pearce and Dr Jacinta Tan talk to CPD Online Trainee Editor Dr Jennifer Powell about ethical considerations arising from COVID-19, including equity of access to services, personal and collective needs around prevention and treatment, potential changes to the Mental Health Act, risks and benefits of remote working and where to find support when confronted with COVID-19-related ethical dilemmas.


Date published: 5 May 2020

Presenter: Dr Jennifer Powell

Interviewees: Dr Steve Pearce and Dr Jacinta Tan

Audio running time: 50 minutes

Credits: 0.5


Learning outcomes


By the end of this podcast, we hope you will have gained an understanding of:


  • ethical issues around equity of access to services for people with mental illness or intellectual disability


  • the balance between personal and collective needs with regard to the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, including issues around confidentiality and use of personal protective equipment (PPE)


  • potential changes to the Mental Health Act and their ethical implications 


  • the risks and benefits of remote working


  • the role of ethics committees and other networks to support clinicians when faced with dilemmas related to COVID-19.


Owing to the fast-changing situation, some changes have already been made to availability of PPE in mental health units and more COVID-19 cases are being recorded in in-patient units since this podcast was recorded; nevertheless, the principles of discussion remain the same.


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If you like this podcast, you may also be interested in the following:


Module A guide to clinical ethics in psychiatry by Dr Steve Pearce and Dr Jacinta Tan


Podcast The psychology and psychiatry of pandemics with Professor Steven Taylor

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