Institutional values and patient rights

Dr Nicole Gerrand1

1Conjoint Fellow, School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Newcastle,  nicole.gerrand

Under what conditions is it acceptable for institutions to adopt  and operate according to values that conflict with fullest realisation of the institution’s ultimate purpose? In particular, under what conditions may the code-of-conduct of a healthcare facility restrict patients’ access to information or treatment options? Such codes are sometimes underpinned by religious belief, but it is not difficult to imagine other values (e.g. economic values) that could lead to similar restrictions. Focussing on the issue of restricting patient information in clinical trials, this paper will draw out the implications of such restrictions for patients’ rights and healthcare generally, and point to possible solutions that can be explored in such circumstances.


Dr Nicole Gerrand is a Conjoint Fellow at the School of Humanities and Arts, University of Newcastle. She is employed as the Manger of Research Support and Development Hunter New England Local Health District. She has over 20 years experience in working in research ethics, bioethics and recently Clinical Ethics and has published in several peer reviewed journals. The views to be expressed in this paper are her own.

About the Association

The Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law (AABHL) was formed in 2009.

It encourages open discussion and debate on a range of bioethical issues, providing a place where people can ask difficult questions about ideas and practices associated with health and illness, biomedical research and human values.

The AABHL seeks to foster a distinctive Australasian voice in bioethics, and provide opportunities for international engagement through its membership, journal and conferences.

Members come from all the contributing humanities, social science and science disciplines that make up contemporary bioethics.

Many members have cross-disciplinary interests and all seek to broaden the dialogues in which all members of the wider community ultimately have an interest.

The AABHL is a supportive, creative and challenging community that provides a rich source of continuing academic refreshment and renewal.

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