Rationing Māori Life and Well-Being - Who Decides and How?

Dr Donna Cormack - IIRC20
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Aotearoa New Zealand has to date avoided the extreme consequences of COVID-19, which internationally has uncovered how health systems and societies differentially value people and groups. However inequality exists in NZ and many of these values and mechanisms still operate not only within our society and but also within our health system. We will investigate, expose and discuss the ethics of rationing health care in a racialised society - critiquing the use of prioritisation tools in medicine about who gets access to technology like ventilators and ICU.
By doing so it will highlight the health inequities that already exist but which would be exacerbated by COVID-19, and bring into the light issues of relevance to government, health professionals, researchers and communities across Aotearoa.
Discussions about the allocation of health resources in the pandemic have highlighted the broader issue of how prioritisation has become a routine and embedded part of healthcare in Aotearoa New Zealand. Increasingly, healthcare decision-making involves algorithmic approaches and/or automated tools, often claimed to be more fair or neutral. Yet decision-making tools are not ‘value-free’ – they necessarily reflect the values and contexts of the societies and institutions within which they are produced. This presentation will explore the (unspoken) values that sit behind tools such as those proposed to allocate ICU beds during the pandemic, and consider how they reproduce colonial values and ethics.