Transformation of the role of healthcare ethics committees and the concept of clinical ethics in Belarus
This chapter discusses the role of the professional ethics of physicians in strengthening medical professionalism and restoring the social weight of the medical profession. The analysis of the implementation of Clinical ethics consultation (CEC) services in Belarus shows that the development and maintenance of CEC services are tightly linked with broader sociopolitical and economic frameworks, which, in the case of Belarus, constitute a set of factors of post-communist transition. These factors are, at least in part, responsible for making the environment in which CEC services operate adversarial to ethical reflection and democratisation. Transformation of the healthcare ethics committee (HEC) into a sort of disciplinary panel impacts the ethical component of medical professionalism negatively and diminishes the value of the internal commitment of healthcare professionals to serve the best interests of the patients and promote their wellbeing. This, in turn, weakens the healthcare professionals' confidence in the power of their professional integrity.