Resource Allocation


Ethics of resource allocation is based on the virtue of justice. Therefore, characteristics such as gender, sexual orientation, religion, age or level of education alone are morally irrelevant to determine to who the resources should go. In fact, a survey performed by the Society of Clinical Care Medicine has shown that “physicians considered the quality of life as viewed by the patient, probability of survival, reversibility of acute disorder and nature of chronic disorder” as the most relevant aspects when making decisions regarding patients admitted in an intensive care unit (MacKeneally 1997).

In our clinical practice, resource allocation means, briefly:

  • to choose interventions known to be beneficial and effective to diagnose and treat our patients;
  • to destinate the resources to people who need them the most (are in the most urgent risk of death or serious harm) and who will benefit them the most (the odds of the resources available to help are higher).

Another important aspect that should be considered regarding resources allocation is our commitment to social accountability. The opinion of citizens, the people in our community, is fundamental to planning the distribution of health incomes (Hofmann 2014).


Martin F. McKneally, Bernard M. Dickens, Eric M. Meslin, Peter A. Singer (1997). Bioethics for clinicians: Resource allocation. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 157 (2): 163

Hofmann, K.D. The Role of Social Accountability in Improving Health Outcomes: Overview and Analysis of Selected International NGO Experiences to Advance the Field. June 2014. Washington, DC: CORE Group.

Post by Danielle Aquino. 


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