Five Nations Care Forum Statement on Ethical Treatment Decisions

Five Nations Care Forum

Media Statement: Ethical criteria for decision making on treatment during the Coronavirus pandemic

Saturday 4 April 2020

The Five Nations Care Forum, which comprises representative bodies from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, England and the Irish Republic, have individually and collectively been working hard to meet the challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic facing each individual nation.

We are issuing this joint communique to underline our shared conviction that the older citizens who our member organisations care and support are the heart and soul of the communities in which we live.

In recent days we have seen a growing number of statements and guidance documents describe the ethical decision tools which may be necessary should our doctors have to prioritise patients for hospital admission and treatment. We accept that this may be an unfortunate reality if our health systems become overwhelmed by the numbers of people with Coronavirus needing medical help.

We recognise that such decisions are inevitably hard and harrowing. However we are convinced that it is essential that a clear set of ethical and human rights principles should lie at the heart of any clinical guidance and criteria.

We believe that all treatment decisions should be based on an individual’s clinical health and potential outcomes and that the use of criteria based solely on age or with a person’s age given undue weighting compared to other factors would be completely unacceptable.

We believe that all citizens deserve equality of access and treatment to ensure the best clinical outcomes and we are dismayed at the suggestion from some that those who happen to live in care homes should not have direct access to acute clinical services and support.

We are collectively calling upon our governments to speedily publish the ethical criteria under which clinical decisions on treatment will be made. Such Guidance needs to speak to all our communities and for all our citizens regardless of age.




This statement has been issued by Scottish Care on behalf of the Five Nations Care Forum, of which Scottish Care is a member.


About the Five Nations Care Forum

 The 5 Nations Care Forum is an alliance of the professional associations representing the care sector across the UK and Ireland. Through a collective commitment to information sharing, joint lobbying, shared learning and support, the aim of the 5 Nations Care Forum is to add value to members’ activity by promoting the interests of service recipients, staff and service providers. The Forum seeks to encourage the development of a joined-up approach to matters which have a UK-wide or European dimension.

For more information including membership:


 About Scottish Care

 Scottish Care is a membership organisation and the representative body for independent social care services in Scotland.  We represent over 400 organisations, which totals almost 1000 individual services, delivering residential care, nursing care, day care, care at home and housing support services. Our membership covers both private and voluntary sector provider organisations. 

For more information on Scottish Care’s work: 



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