US judicial guidelines on sentencing could show way forward for NHS

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7056.558 (Published 31 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:558
  1. L T Wilkins,
  2. A J Wilkins
  1. Research professor, State University of New York 15 Brunswick Gardens, Cambridge
  2. Senior scientist MRC Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge

    EDITOR,—Allocation of scarce medical resources presents problems that have striking similarities to judicial sentencing or the decisions of parole boards. Both the medical and judicial decisions involve ethical and technical constraints. Both must avoid disparity. Both must in principle be accountable to the public, and both must be seen to be fair.

    In some states of the United States, notably Minnesota, judicial sentencing guidelines have been developed by the Sentencing Commission to ensure that the punishment allocated both fits the …

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