Table 1

Ethical processes (Listed in alphabetical order). Adapted from Daniels, N. Accountability for reasonabless. BMJ 2000, 321:1300–1301.




There should be mechanisms in place to ensure that ethical decision-making is sustained throughout the crisis.


Decisions should be made explicitly with stakeholder views in mind and there should be opportunities for stakeholders to be engaged in the decision-making process. For example, decision-making related to staff deployment should include the input of affected staff.

Openness & Transparency

Decisions should be publicly defensible. This means that the process by which decisions were made must be open to scrutiny and the basis upon which decisions are made should be publicly accessible to affected stakeholders. For example, there should be a communication plan developed in advance to ensure that information can be effectively disseminated to affected stakeholders and that stakeholders know where to go for needed information.


Decisions should be based on reasons (i.e., evidence, principles, values) that stakeholders can agree are relevant to meeting health needs in a pandemic influenza crisis and they should be made by people who are credible and accountable. For example, decision-makers should provide a rationale for prioritising particular groups for anti-viral medication and for limiting access to elective surgeries and other services.


There should be opportunities to revisit and revise decisions as new information emerges throughout the crisis as well as mechanisms to address disputes and complaints. For example, if elective surgeries are cancelled or postponed, there should a formal mechanism for stakeholders to voice any concerns they may have with the decision.

Thompson et al. BMC Medical Ethics 2006 7:12   doi:10.1186/1472-6939-7-12

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