Book review: Public Health Ethics (Second edition)

Professor of public health research Susan Carr reviews Public Health Ethics (Second edition)

Public Health Ethics (Second edition)

Stephen Holland

Polity Press

£17.99 | 288pp

ISBN: 9780745662190

This book is presented in two parts and systematically works through key issues relating to ethical issues in public health.

Part one focuses on moral and political philosophy and how these inform public health ethics. The theories driving consequentialism, non-consequentialism, liberal, political philosophy and beyond traditional liberalism expose the maze of arguments that can be called upon to consider the ethics of public health.

A core debate is how much public health interventions do or should affect personal freedom and the impact on the common good. Each chapter finishes with a useful summary of key points.

Part two draws on a range of case studies to demonstrate the practical application of the issues exposed in part one. Attention is given to public health activities such as immunisation, screening, behaviour change and harm reduction.

I found it a thorough, yet readable book. It will be a useful resource to anyone studying or working in the public health field.

Reviewed by Susan Carr, professor of public health research, research and innovation lead, at Northumbria University.

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