Guest Editorial > MORAL LEADERSHIP IN MEDICINE: Building Ethical Healthcare Organisations, by Dr Suzanne Shale



MORAL LEADERSHIP IN MEDICINE: Building Ethical Healthcare Organisations, by Dr Suzanne Shale | Dr Paul Lambden

Paul Lambden helpfully tackles a challenging but enthralling book on the tricky subjects of morality and ethics in healthcare decision making

MORAL LEADERSHIP IN MEDICINE: Building Ethical Healthcare Organisations, by Dr Suzanne Shale


This is a challenging textbook absolutely full of complex concepts involving principles, values, beliefs and practices and their applications to ethics, morals and propriety. It is a detailed personal review and assessment of the code of ethics in medicine and how to develop the leadership which identifies develops and promotes those codes.


The author displays a highly principled stance and a considerable knowledge as she explores the nature of morality, the challenges and the conflicts. She has clearly undertaken considerable research across the fields of primary and secondary care. She explores the definitions, operation, conflicts and interconnections of morality and ethics and who is involved in the creation of these codes in leadership.


She takes the reader though what she describes as organisational moral narratives and how principled behaviour can be displayed in complex moral situations. The author uses specific individual examples of moral dilemma as examples as well as considering organisational responsibility for standards and ethical conduct.


The author included a detailed review of the medical regulator and a particularly well-written and succinct description of commonly used ethical frameworks. Each chapter starts with a useful explanation of the content and finishes with comprehensive chapter-specific references.


I found this a difficult book to read, partly for practical reasons in that the text was printed in a small font and was close-typed without paragraph spacing and partly because the narrative is composed of beautifully stylish but quite complex prose which uses relatively complicated terminology to form sentences which are stimulating and thought-provoking but some of which require reading two or three times to fully understand their meaning. The result was that it is a book which must be read slowly.


However, as someone whose role as a medico-legal adviser involves consideration of conduct, ethical activity, morality and fiduciary duty much of the time, I found the book thought provoking and fascinating.


The book will provide a valuable addition to the library of those individuals who work within health, have a good grounding in ethical principles and the way in which they are intertwined with medical care and the patient experience and operate as, or aspire to being, leaders.


The book bridges the gap between fundamental principles and the fine detail of individual moral and ethical issues and how they change and evolve.


Whilst the style and layout of the book is challenging the effort of reading it is well worthwhile and quite enthralling and I commend it.



MORAL LEADERSHIP IN MEDICINE: Building Ethical Healthcare Organisations

by Dr Suzanne Shale

Cambridge University Press (2012)


Here’s a link to the book