The purpose of the Clinical Ethics Committee at Monash Health is to support and enhance the clinical decision making processes with respect to complex ethical issues.
The Clinical Ethics Committee is made up of medical, nursing and allied health representatives, including a social worker and also health consumers, medical administrators and an ethicist/s.
Its function is to support staff by providing opinion and advice on an ethically defensible process for arriving at a decision. Its function is not to replace the day-to-day decision making processes that are already in existence or to make binding recommendations with respect to ethical issues.
Policy and Procedures
The Clinical Ethics Committee has developed Monash Health Policy and Procedure documents related to clinical ethics at Monash Health.
The Clinical Ethics Policy can be accessed via the Intranet Policies & Procedures link.
The Background document which includes the Terms of Reference of the committee and it’s subcommittees.
Procedure documents for case consultations and ethics procedure review.
Referral forms for standard case consultation and for children with disorders of sexual development are linked within the case consultation procedure above.
Subcommittees of the Clinical Ethics Committee include the Highly Specialised Medicines Consultative Committee and the Termination Review Committee.
The opinion and advice of colleagues within the health service can make dealing with difficult ethical issues less burdensome. Referral to the Clinical Ethics Committee is mandatory in cases of infants and children with disorders of sexual development (and any other case where required by law, on the advice of Corporate Counsel). Other than the above, the clinician is not bound to follow the opinion and advice of the Clinical Ethics Committee. The clinician/unit are also under no obligation to refer ethically complex clinical cases or related conflicts to the Clinical Ethics Committee.
Examples of clinical practice areas where ethical issues frequently arise include (but are not limited to):
– organ and tissue donation;
– assisted reproductive technology;
– experimental medical treatment;
– termination of pregnancy;
– prioritising allocation and use of therapeutic products of limited availability;
– withdrawal or cessation of treatment;
– children with disorders of sexual development.
The Clinical Ethics Committee secretariat is located in the Research Support Services and can be contacted by phone on: 03 9594 4611 or by email