HLTH434-17T4 (C) Term Four 2017

Bioethics B

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 4 September 2017
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2017
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 15 September 2017
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 20 October 2017


This course examines the history, legal, regulatory, monitoring and decision-making frameworks in the New Zealand health sector.

Decisions made in the delivery of health care often involve making moral choices when the ‘right’ thing to do is not immediately obvious. In New Zealand bioethics came to fore in the mid-1980s after a Royal Commission investigated clinical research being carried out at National Women’s Hospital in Auckland, that had been on-going since the 1960s. An Auckland obstetrician and gynaecologist, Herbert Green, after observing many women who came to him for treatment, had come to believe that a condition called cervical dysplasia (where women were found to have abnormal cervical cells after a pap smear) did not always progress to invasive cancer. He therefore thought that the condition did not warrant the conventional treatment of the time, a cone biopsy or hysterectomy, as this had significant lifelong implications for the women involved, including affecting their ability to have children.
The processes he used to test his hypothesis came into question, and were published in a popular magazine. The political fallout led to the then government setting up a Royal Commission of inquiry into his practices (the Cartwright Report, 1988). The inquiry led to the introduction of ethics committees, the development of codes of ethics and bioethical training for health professionals, health sector managers and researchers, and to the setting up of the role of Health and Disability Commissioner.

Learning Outcomes

  • By the end of the course students will have an understanding of:
  • Bioethics in a global context
  • The nature of moral/ethical issues in health care settings
  • Regulatory and disciplinary frameworks governing ethical decision-making in New Zealand


Subject to approval of the Head of School


HLTH407, HLTH607, PHIL325, PHIL434

Equivalent Courses

Course Coordinator

Thomas Harding

The co-ordinator and lecturer from the University of Canterbury will teach the course along with a number of guests invited from within the University, health and other sectors. Students may also attend a regional ethics committee meeting as timetabling allows. (The Southern Health and Disability Ethics Committee (SHDEC) meeting dates had not been publically notified at the time of writing).


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Case study 06 Oct 2017 40% Due by 17.00.
Discussion paper 03 Nov 2017 60% Due by 17.00.

The course is taught in accordance with University policies. Assessment information and grading system will be posted on UC LEARN2.

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Munson, Ronald; Intervention and reflection : basic issues in bioethics ; 9th ed; Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012.

Recommended Reading

Bergland, Catherine Anne; Ethics for health care ; 4th ed; Oxford University Press, 2012.

Have, H. ten; Global bioethics : an introduction ;

Kuhse, Helga. , Singer, Peter; A companion to bioethics ; 2nd ed; Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

Required reading:
Topics will have assigned readings that will be referenced on LEARN2, the University’s online course support website http://www.learn.canterbury.ac.nz/, or sourced by students from the UC library databases.
Students will be required to access and download PDF files of journal articles from UC Library.

Additional Course Outline Information

Assessment and grading system

Grading Scale
Grade    GPA Value        Marks

A+              9            90 – 100
A                8            85 – 89.99
A-               7            80 – 84.99
B+              6            75 – 79.99
B                5            70 – 74.99
B-               4            65 – 69.99
C+              3            60 – 64.99
C                2            55 – 59.99
C-               1            50 – 54.99
D                0            40 – 49.99
E               -1             0 – 39.99

A Pass is 50 marks or over

Where to submit and collect work

Students will be expected to submit their assessment via the online assessment system in the Learn class site by 5.00pm on or before the due date.  The lecturer may also ask students to submit assessment work through the software Turnitin, to check for plagiarism. If this option is available students will submit work through Turnitin and obtain a report, after submitting assignments for marking via the Learn site.
It is the responsibility of the students to check their Internet access and ability to submit their work via the online system.  Any technical difficulties should be notified well in advance of the due date so that assistance can be provided or alternative arrangements can be negotiated. If you require assistance, please email ictservicedesk@canterbury.ac.nz, or phone 366 7001 ext 6060.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,033.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Health Sciences .

All HLTH434 Occurrences

  • HLTH434-17T4 (C) Term Four 2017