Just Healthcare: Why allocating resources is not just enough
Over many years, different theories have been developed to guide the social practices and policies of institutions so that they demonstrate equal concern and respect for all, and satisfy the requirements of justice. Although the normative principles described in a theory may support just institutions, whether this results in just outcomes will depend on how the decisions that implement the principles are made and actioned. As a societal institution charged with caring for people, ensuring just outcomes is a distinct concern in healthcare. Relationships within this institution are constitutive of human flourishing and are also important to justice. Yet, it is not possible to create, maintain or evaluate interpersonal relationships in the same manner as institutions because rather than being universal and impartial, they are particular and partial. Consequently, the link between theories of justice that guide decision-making in relation to structures or institutions, and the relationships that influence those with a proximate effect on individuals, is not explicit. To address this gap, this article argues that a focus on human flourishing provides a nexus between the decision-making for just institutions and just outcomes for individuals.
Nursing not elsewhere classified