SH5000 – Assessment 1: Health & Social Policy Case-Studies 

SH5000 – Assessment 1: Health & Social Policy Case-Studies

Ethics and Research in Professional Context

Word Length: 3000+

As discussed, Please find attached the assignments with full instructions.

Please try to follow and work with the Essay instructions.  If there is any further information you need from me please don’t hesitate to get back to me.




SH5000 Ethics and Research in Professional Contexts

SH5000 – Assessment 1: Health & Social Policy Case-Studies  – The essay:

You are required to write an essay of not more than 3,000 words, critically discussing the application of ethical theories or approaches to the ethical dilemma in your chosen case study.

Your essay must be submitted via Turnitin by Week 11

Weighting: 60 %

In the written assessment students should:

  • describe the case-study containing an ethical dilemma. This should be no more than 200 words. (Make sure your dilemma is realistic).
  • identify the ethical issues the dilemma raises – there will be more than one.
  • identify the different people involved, describe how each one might view the dilemma, and explain why they take this position. (Different people might include patients, users, carers, family members, the general public, pressure groups, front-line professional workers, health and social care assistants, youth workers, service managers);
  • identify and discuss potential conflict(s) and points of agreement in terms of ethical arguments;
  • consider how gender, ethnicity, religion, age, sexuality, etc might influence how people respond to the ethical dilemma.
  • consider how far relevant codes of professional conduct and law, as applied to the dilemma, help with arriving at a moral solution.

Please also take note of the following:

Ethical Theories

Ethical Critics

Analysis all the different Policies

Look at the different Stake Holders

Look at the Code of Conducts and Law

Use the words I………….

Back up with module slides learning outcome.

(Harvard Referencing Style)

Writing a good ethics essay – Tips

Case studies

For this assessment, you are required to critically analyse a ‘case-study’ containing an ethical dilemma. Some of your case studies are based on real-life situations. However, for the purpose of your essay, use the case-study as it is presented. This is an abstract exercise with no one right answer, so if during your research you find out what decision was actually made in a particular case, this will not help you in constructing your own argument. If you feel, while working on your essay, that there are facts you would need to know which aren’t included in the case study, make sure that you highlight these in your work. Part of the exercise is for you to be able to recognise what extra information you would need to be able to make a reasoned ethical argument. So if, for example, your chosen case study has not specified the age of the patient, and you think that this is essential for making an ethical judgement, you could write the following:

‘In this kind of situation it would be essential to know the age of the patient because….’

And/or you could make an assumption (see below for more detail about assumptions) about the patient’s age to support your argument:

‘The age of the patient is a morally important factor here, for the following reasons …. For the purposes of my argument I am assuming him to be 45, and will base my argument on this assumption.’ SH5000 – Assessment 1: Health & Social Policy Case-Studies.

Good English

Many people struggle with spelling, grammar and punctuation, whether or not they are native English speakers. In essays where analytical arguments are important, the good use of English is essential. If we cannot understand what you mean, you won’t do as well as you could have done. Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation very carefully. Read your sentences through and ask yourself if they are clear and make good sense. Make sure you know the meaning of every word you use. If there are some you are not sure of, look them up in the dictionary, or replace them with words you are more familiar with. Essays which are clear and well-written will receive better marks than those which rely on obscure words or jargon.


Reading is essential for writing a good essay, but try to ensure that your essay is not simply an amalgamation of different quotes. References should be used judiciously to support your argument. If you include a quote, ask yourself if it is relevant. If not, get rid of it! You should work out your argument before deciding which quotes to use. An essay which contains many references, but does not make a coherent argument will receive a lower mark than an essay which is well-argued but contains very few references. SH5000 – Assessment 1: Health & Social Policy Case-Studies.

Moral theory

In our ethics class we have looked at a number of moral theories. These theories can be useful tools for analysing problems. However, you should not feel obliged to cover all of these theories in your essay. Some may be more relevant than others. If the argument you are making in your essay does not fall neatly into one of the moral theories we have addressed in class, don’t worry: as long as you argue it well, and show your awareness of counter-arguments, you will get good marks.

Word limit

The word limit is 3000 words. Stick to it!

SH5000 – Assessment 1: Health & Social Policy Case-Studies

Argument and assumptions

The main purpose of the essay is for you to demonstrate your ability to make a moral argument. This is the single most important consideration to bear in mind. It is not about demonstrating knowledge, or having read a library-full of books… these things may help to make a good argument, but they are not the most important factors. A good argument is clear, concise, and takes account of the opposition. Think through the points you want to make, and ask yourself if there are counter-arguments to your position. If so, strengthen your argument by addressing these counter-arguments and saying why you think they are wrong. If you think abortion is wrong, for example, imagine that you are talking to someone who takes the opposite position. Would they agree with your argument? What claims might they make?

The most common mistake people make is to rely on unsupported assumptions in their essays. There is nothing wrong with making assumptions, but you should acknowledge that this is what you are doing, and be aware that this kind of assumption does not help your argument. For example, if your essay title is ‘Is animal testing morally acceptable?’ it is not sufficient to say

1) ‘Animal testing is morally acceptable because animals are less important than human beings.’

This kind of statement does not explore the topic, and would be penalised in an essay. How does the writer know that animals are less important than human beings? There is no evidence or argument to convince the reader. However, she could say:

2) ‘If we accept that animals are less important than human beings, it is possible to argue in favour of animal testing as follows…’


3) ‘I believe that animals are less important than human beings, but for those who don’t agree with this, the following arguments may be relevant…’

In examples 2 and 3, the assumption is still unsupported, but its position in the argument is changed. The writer does not use the assumption to provide an answer to the question, but uses it as a starting point for her argument.

Sometimes unsupported assumptions can be hard to spot:

4) ‘Animals are less important than human beings because they are not capable of reasoning.’

Here, the statement ‘animals are less important than humans’ is supported by the claim that ‘they are not capable of reasoning’. This goes some way towards explaining why the writer thinks animals are less important than human beings. However, another assumption is embedded here: namely, that the capacity for reasoning is morally relevant. To improve her essay, the writer would need to justify the link between reasoning and moral importance.

This could be approached by supporting the claim made above, e.g.:

4) ‘Harris et al argue that the capacity for reason is an essential ingredient for moral worth…’

Or by referring to empirical research:

5) ‘Scientific research demonstrates that the capacity for reasoning is directly linked with the capacity to feel pain …’

Statements 4 and 5 would need to be backed up with references. Be careful about making these kinds of claims. They must be rigorously researched and backed up. Try to make sure that your reference really does support the claim you are making. Note that example 5 contains a further embedded assumption: that is, that pain is connected with moral importance. Again, if the writer wanted to get good marks, she would need to examine the link between pain and moral importance.

Nearly all statements contain embedded assumptions. The challenge when writing an essay is to identify which assumptions you need to support. To do this, it is very helpful to imagine a critical friend looking at your work and asking questions. Your essay must answer those questions. SH5000 – Assessment 1: Health & Social Policy Case-Studies .


Remember that a good discursive essay should include an introduction stating what you aim to do in the essay, a main body where the essay task is explored and addressed (developing your argument), and a conclusion where points made in the body are summed up, and your final argument presented. N.B. You may use the first person or the third person pronoun to write this essay. Either is acceptable.


Use the Harvard referencing style. For guidance on how to cite accurately in the required style please see the information on the library website.

Health and Social care & Health & Social Policy Case-Studies Booklet



SH5000 Ethics and Research in Professional Contexts

Part One: Ethics

Seminar Workshops: moral dilemmas from healthcare for small group discussion and analysis.

Each week students in groups of 4 will explore the ethically relevant features of a moral dilemma. The seminar workshops should assist you in developing analytical skills necessary for the assessment.

When thinking about moral decision-making in professional contexts you may approach your analysis of a given dilemma by going though the following steps:

  • identify the ethical issue(s) in the dilemma;
  • identify the different people involved, describe how each one might view the dilemma, and explain why you think they take this position. Different people might include patients, users, carers, the general public, pressure groups, front-line professional workers, assistants, service managers;
  • identify potential conflict(s) and points of agreement in terms of ethical arguments;
  • consider how gender, ethnicity, religion, age, sexuality, disability, and/or other differences you think are relevant, might influence how people respond to the dilemma.
  • consider how far relevant codes of professional conduct and law, as applied to the dilemma, help with arriving at a moral solution.

Weekly case-studies containing moral dilemmas for analysis:

Week 3

Rights and responsibilities

Gene eats a low-fat diet, exercises regularly, but has a strong family history of heart disease. He suffers a heart attack at age 44. Fred eats fast food, and never takes exercise. He suffers a heart attack at age 44. The intensive care unit has one empty bed. Should Gene have priority over Fred?


Mrs K is a 37-year-old woman with four children. She consults her doctor for irregular periods. She had been using a diaphragm as contraception, having stopped taking birth control pills because of their side effects.

Her doctor tells her that she is pregnant. She does not want another child. She says she already has as many children as she can cope with. Mrs K suffers from depression.  Her doctor considers her circumstances fall within the Abortion Act 1967 and refers her to a clinic.

Mr K disagrees with abortion. 

Did the doctor do the right thing?

Week 4

Independent Learning Week

See Online study task for completion in Weblearn

Week 5

Characterising the ethical professional: virtue, care, narrativity, paternalism.

Katherine is an intelligent, unmarried, 40 year old woman suffering from Gullian-Barres syndrome, a painful neurological illness that leaves its sufferers paralysed for unpredictable lengths of time. Many people recover from the syndrome more or less completely and live long relatively healthy lives. However, Katherine has been paralysed for 3 years and 10 months ago it was recognised that she was unlikely to ever be able to move or breathe on her own again because of the extent of damage to her nerves and muscles; she now needs a ventilator to help her breathe.

Her doctor explained this to her in a gentle but clear manner. Last week Katherine asked to speak to her privately. She told her that she had considered her options and decided that she no longer wanted to live. She said her life held no value for her if it meant being in constant pain and without the freedom to move or even breathe on her own. She told the Doctor that she had discussed this with her family and that they have accepted her wishes to have the ventilator removed. SH5000 – Assessment 1: Health & Social Policy Case-Studies .

What is the moral thing for the professional to do in this case?


Week 6 – Utilitarianism and consequentialism

Scientists have found that when a certain proportion of the population is vaccinated, the spread of an infectious disease is dramatically reduced.  Each infectious disease has a different threshold. With measles, 19 out of 20 people must be vaccinated in order to ensure protection. Measles is a potentially fatal disease in children. However, as a result of a scandal over contaminated measles vaccine, some parents refuse to have their children vaccinated. The proportion of children vaccinated falls to 7 out of 10. The number of cases of measles increases sharply, and several children die. The government introduces a law making vaccination against measles compulsory.  (FOR PRINCESS)


Week 7 – Autonomy, consent and competence

Mr C is a 70-year-old man with dementia and long-standing lung disease. He is cared for by his 72-year-old wife. He has frequent chest infections for which he receives antibiotics and he requires oxygen at home because of his lung disease. His most recent chest infection has not responded well to antibiotic tablets and his general condition is deteriorating. He is not eating and is drinking little. It is possible that, with hospital treatment, including intravenous antibiotics and physiotherapy, he may recover from this infection, although he is bound to develop a similar infection again in the near future. Admission to hospital in the past has caused him distress because he does not cope well with changing environments. His wife, however, says that she thinks that he should go to hospital so he can be given maximum treatment    (FOR SUNNY). 


Week 8 – Mental capacity

Emma Jones is 25 and has severe learning disabilities as well as congenital heart disease. She lives with her parents and every two months spends one week in a young adult hospice. When at the hospice Emma enjoys herself greatly and interacts well with staff and other residents. Her mood and general well-being improve and this improvement lasts for at least a week after she returns home. However Emma finds it distressing and becomes agitated when she is required to get into a car to travel to and from the hospice. She struggles and tries to get back into the house or hospice. In order to get her into the car it is necessary to use some restraint and pressure. Her parents and hospice staff wonder whether this restraint is justified under the Mental Capacity Act (2005). SH5000 – Assessment 1: Health & Social Policy Case-Studies.

Week 9 – Social Justice

You are a member of a Clinical Commissioning Group, but money is tight and you can only fund one of the following initiatives.

  1. Two courses of IVF for the under 40s.
  2. Smoking cessation clinics in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods
  3. Commissioning a private health care company to provide subsidized (residential) care for the elderly

Which option should you fund? Explain why.


You are a member of a local authority Youth Committee, but money is tight and you can only fund one of the following initiatives.

  1. 1.Fund a team of 6 outreach youth workers aimed at reducing gang and drug related activity in a disadvantaged neighbourhood
  2. Fund a scholarship programme for high achieving young people from disadvantaged areas to attend private schools.

Which option would be the (most) moral choice? Explain why

Week 10 – Confidentiality, trust, integrity

Mrs M has been having some strange symptoms which have been diagnosed as early symptoms of multiple sclerosis. She realizes she could be unaffected by the disease for some time and so has asked her GP not to tell anyone, even her family. Mr M and their three children are also the GP’s patients. The GP is torn by Mrs M’s decision because she feels it would be better if the family knew now rather than finding out later. Mrs M wants to keep this secret because “I don’t want them to start treating me differently. I want to look after my family for as long as I can before they start looking after me.”


Bob has attended the genito-urinary clinic at his local Trust hospital. Bob is seen by Dr Gomez who informs him that he is HIV positive. Dr Gomez counsels Bob to contact his sexual partners to inform them of his status. Bob starts a course of treatment. SH5000 – Assessment 1: Health & Social Policy Case-Studies .

For the last 18 months Bob has been in a relationship with Sue. They are expecting a baby in 2 months time. Before this relationship Bob had a series of sexual partners.

On a subsequent visit to the clinic it becomes clear to Dr Gomez that Bob has not told Sue of his HIV status. Dr Gomez is aware of the impending arrival of their baby and tells Bob that steps should be taken to assess whether Sue is HIV positive and whether the baby is at risk so that if necessary treatment may be started.

Bob adamantly refuses to tell Sue and says that if she is told without his consent then he will stop his course of treatment. What should Dr Gomez do?

Week 11

Coursework essay (3000 words) due for submission this week

See exact submission deadline in Evision

Submit by 3:00pm on the deadline via Turnitin