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Med Law. 2008 Sep;27(3):547-62.

Solidarity, rights and social welfare in the NHS--resisting the tide of bioethics?

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University of Reading, UK.


What are social welfare rights? On the one hand, Rawls, Nozick and Dworkin emphasise individual rights rather than community interests. On the other, the idea of "solidarity" is so imprecise and contentious, that it offers a poor foundation for a theory of collective rights. This article analyses the nature and content of rights to solidarity via the experience of resource allocation in the National Health Service in the U.K.. Contrary to popular currents of contemporary bioethics, it argues for a stronger sense of institutional ethics capable of balancing individual claims to substantive rights with the need for solidarity and social cohesion in the community as a whole.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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