ethics equity

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the National Ethics Advisory Committee (NEAC) committed to developing an ethical framework for resource allocation that addresses equity in resource allocation and prioritisation.

NEAC’s Framework is a high-level guidance document for the health and disability sector that would help health workers and policy makers consider ethics when deciding how to allocate resources. The Framework sets out ethical principles and Te Tiriti principles that medical staff, service planners and policy makers should consider when responding to pandemics.

The Framework adds an equity lens to decision making and assesses how equity sits alongside other ethical principles and Te Tiriti. Equity as a concept recognises that different people have different levels of advantage and so require different approaches and resources to get equitable health outcomes.

In a resource allocation setting, this means that health workers and policy makers should consider how resources can be allocated to mitigate the adverse consequences of pandemic response measures while at the same time avoiding or minimising growth in inequity from those measures.

NEAC recognises that the Framework only addresses a small part of pandemic ethics and is currently focused on COVID-19. NEAC will revise the Framework to be applicable to pandemics more generally, as part of its planned review of Getting Through Together: Ethical values for a pandemic.

Consulting on the draft ethical Framework

NEAC sought the views and feedback of the public on the draft Ethical Framework and met with interested stakeholders to discuss and improve the final Framework. Consultation ran from 16 June 2020 to 29 July 2020.

Summary of submissions 

NEAC produced a summary of submissions following the consultation on the draft Framework. The submissions informed the development of the final Framework and we thank all those who made submissions for their valuable input in developing the Framework.

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