Hospital Ethics Committees in Poland

Science and Engineering Ethics 21 (6):1525-1535 (2015)
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According to UNESCO guidelines, one of the four forms of bioethics committees in medicine are the Hospital Ethics Committees. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how the above guidelines are implemented in real practice. There were 111 hospitals selected out of 176 Polish clinical hospitals and hospitals accredited by Center of Monitoring Quality in Health System. The study was conducted by the survey method. There were 56 hospitals that responded to the survey. The number of HECs members fluctuated between 3 and 16 members, where usually 5 members were part of the board committee. The composition of the HECs for professions other than physicians was diverse and non-standardized. Only 55 % of HECs had a professional set of standards. 98 % of HECs had specific tasks. 62 % of HECs were asked for their expertise, and 55 % prepared <6.88 % of the opinions were related to interpersonal relations between hospital personnel, patients and their families with emphasis on the interactions between superiors and their inferiors or hospital staff and patients and their families. Only 12 % of the opinions were reported by the respondents as related to ethical dilemmas. In conclusion, few Polish hospitals have HECs, and the structure, services and workload are not always adequate. To ensure a reliable operation of HECs requires the development of relevant legislation, standard operating procedures and well trained members



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