The South West Health Ethics Network (SWHEN) was created to bring together health care providers from a variety of health care settings across a geographical region. SWHEN’s mission was to connect health professionals who have an interest in ethical issues. SWHEN’s target participants are people with an interest in this field regardless of the individual’s capacity within an ethics profession. While other ethics networks exist, few of these expand beyond a narrow scope of ethics professionals (clinical ethicists). The preliminary vision in bringing together this group was to create a regional collaborative to educate, share lessons and begin to create a common approach to ethics issues in our region. Ethics networks increase collaboration and the exchange of resources, information and ideas among clinical ethicists. As a result, they address many of the ethical dilemmas faced in integrated care and facilitate the success of these systems in providing coordinated patient care. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
A Delphi consensus building approach was conducted to determine goals and priorities of the network.
Several priorities and counter priorities were discussed. In the end, the network was stifled by three major challenges: resource sharing, balance of network priorities and individual needs, and leadership.
While the journey to creating a sustainable network is long and complex, it is still worth the struggles. Network members remained connected through e-platforms, and the meetings have increased our region’s cohesiveness around ethics. We remain cautiously optimistic of SWHENs future and acknowledge that our initial plan may have shifted but our achievements are still meaningful and worthwhile.
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