ABSTRACT For many years, thoughtful medical practitioners have concerned themselves with the place of health services and medicine in their social setting. They have recognized that there are genuine moral dilemmas which are peculiarly modern or postmodern. ' As the potential to treat has gathered momentum, so has the cost of health services. These two forces have now collided. The resultant damage is far from finished, and the full extent remains to be assessed. It is clear that medicine will never be as it was, and that it will need to be re-thought in radical ways. To do that, we will need to know what societies expect from their health services, what goods they value as primary, what priorities they may assign to competing goods, like health and education, and what level of taxation they will endure to secure these goods. However, who will think about these matters, and who will create the opportunities for intelligent people to cross disciplinary barriers to talk about them? This paper represents one small attempt to enter this domain.
The Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine
The Centre was opened within the University of Sydney's Department of Surgery in May 1995. In November 1996, the University of Sydney awarded the Certificate of Official Status as a University Centre during the opening ceremony of a seminar on equity and rationing in health. The Centre consists of a core group of people drawn from a number of professions and academic backgrounds. Clinical medicine, community medicine, health economics, sociology, education, philosophy, sociology, ethics, law and anthropology are all represented. Some members come from the campus of the University of Sydney, others from outside. All have particular interests in the value-laden fields of medical ethics, bioethics and health law.