Medscape report reveals UK doctors' ethical dilemmas before and during COVID-19

LONDON, May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report from Medscape finds that 64% of UK doctors responding to a recent survey have been involved in the frontline care of patients with COVID-19, and that 44% had experienced ethical and moral dilemmas, including how to care for COVID patients while protecting themselves and their families, and contending with what they perceive as Government mismanagement and bullying from managers.

The Medscape UK Ethics Report 2020: COVID-19, Life, Death and Pain, features responses from 1,355 UK-based doctors on ethical issues faced in daily medical practice, conducted between 3 December and 23 February; 340 doctors responded to additional questions posed in mid-April when the pandemic was at its peak.

Doctors on the front lines reported being faced with ethical and moral issues including when and whether to intubate patients, the inability to properly examine patients, decisions on how to best care for patients with non-COVID but serious conditions, and how to deflect "government mismanagement" and "bullying" in the NHS. Almost one in three (31%) said they had been in contact with COVID-19 positive patients without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). These factors may be among the reasons why there was a doubling in the number of doctors reporting high levels of burnout during the pandemic as compared to before the pandemic (8% v 16%) in a separate Medscape/WebMD online reader poll involving 110 UK doctors in April.

In addition, the report also found that:

  • More than half (54%) of doctors believe vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 should be fast-tracked; 28% were unsure.
  • 50% said doctors should not be subjected to random drug and alcohol tests
  • One in 5 doctors would bend the rules to enable a patient to receive NHS funding for a treatment that wouldn't otherwise be funded, with an additional 32% saying that they might, depending on the situation
  • Almost one in 5 doctors (18%) would turn away patients that are difficult to treat.

Click here to view report:

About Medscape

Medscape is the leading source of clinical news, health information, and point-of-care tools for health care professionals. Medscape offers specialists, primary care physicians, and other health professionals the most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools. Medscape Education ( is the leading destination for continuous professional development, consisting of more than 30 specialty-focused destinations offering thousands of free CME and CE courses and other educational programs for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. Both Medscape and Medscape Education are part of WebMD Health Corp., an Internet Brands company.

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SOURCE Medscape

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