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Ethics in Community Health Services (completed)

The project Ethics in Community Health Services was started in 2009, and is funded by the Ministry of Health and Care Services. It is carried out by the Centre for Medical Ethics (CME) at the University of Oslo.

The project merged with Clinical ethics committees in hospitals in 2017.

About the project

The Ministry of Health and Care Services want CME to do the following:

  • Supervise municipalities and institutions in establishing and developing systematic ethics work.
  • Offer staff, management and resource persons involved in systematic ethics work arenas to build competence
  • Help municipalities to evaluate local initiatives.
  • Do research on ethical challenges that are central and close to practice, as well as how these are handled.
  • Develop and communicate different types of teaching material to be used in community health services’ ethics initiatives.
  • Ensure exchange of experiences and quality assurance across municipalities, through an annual conference and designated website.


As far back as 2000, the social committee of Parliament agreed that clinical ethics committees in community health should be considered. In 2006, The Ministry of Health and Care Services and Parliament suggested establishment of ethics committees in nursing homes. Since then, there have been several initiatives to strengthen ethics work in community health care. A trial project was started in 2008, with CME working alongside The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) in implementing clinical ethics committees in selected municipalities. Starting in 2009, the Ministry of Health and Care Services has given CME an annual grant to continue this work.


Over the past few years clinical ethics committees have been established in some Norwegian municipalities. CME assists these committees, both in the establishment phase, but also in their continuing work. Some of CMEs employees are themselves members of committees. Today there are 9 active clinical ethics committees in the municipalities.

CME holds national seminars and ethics courses for the committees, and for others involved in ethics work in the municipalities (for instance through reflection groups or local projects.). One of these is a 2-day introductory course in health care ethics, running every fall. It covers ethics committees in hospitals, in municipalities and reflection groups in either setting.

CME also does research and evaluation work. In 2015, CME received an additional grant for an evaluation of a nationwide 8-year health care ethics project (initiated by KS) in Norwegian municipalities.


CME receives an annual grant of approximately 3 million NOK from the Ministry of Health and Care Services for this project.

Publications in English

  • Ethics reflection groups in community health services: an evaluation study. Lillian Lillemoen og Reidar Pedersen:BMC Medical Ethics 2015. 16:25.
  • How to prevent coercion in nursing homes: A qualitative study. Elisabeth Gjerberg, Marit Helene Hem, Reidun Førde, Reidar Pedersen. Nursing Ethics 2013 20:632.
  • Ethical challenges and how to develop ethics support in primary health care. Lillian Lillemoen og Reidar Pedersen. Nursing Ethics 2013. 20:96-108.
Published Dec. 3, 2015 2:00 PM - Last modified Oct. 19, 2021 3:09 PM