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© 2014 Royal College of General Practitioners. Primary care ethics is a field of study that has recently found new life, with calls to establish the relevance of ethical discussion in general practice, to gather a body of literature and to carve out an intellectual space for primary care on the academic landscape of bioethics. In this report, we reflect on the key strands of the 4th primary care ethics conference held at the Royal Society of Medicine, on a theme of ethics education and lifelong learning: first, to produce insights that have relevance for policy and practice; and second, to illustrate the idea that not only is ethics relevant in primary care, but primary care is relevant in medical ethics. Core themes included the advantages and disadvantages of prescriptive ways of doing ethics in education, ethical reflection and potential risk to professional status, the need to deal with societal change and to take on board the insights gained from empirical work, whether this is about different kinds of fatherhood, or work on the causes of moral distress in healthcare workers.

Original publication




Journal article


London Journal of Primary Care

Publication Date





164 - 168