CRITCON-Pandemic levels: A stepwise ethical approach to clinician responsibility

D. Harvey*, D. Gardiner, A. McGee, T. DeBeer, D. Shaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


CRITCON-Pandemic levels with an associated operational responsibility matrix were recently published by the Intensive Care Society as a modification to Winter Flu CRITCON levels, to better account for differences between a winter flu surge in critical care activity and the capacity challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this paper, we propose an expansion and explanation of the operational matrix to suggest a stepwise ethical approach to clinician responsibility. We propose and outline the main ethical risks created at each level and discuss how those risks can be mitigated through a balanced application of the predominant ethical principle which in turn provides practical guidance to clinician responsibility. We thus seek to specify the ethical and legal principles that should be used in applying the operational matrix, and what the practical effects could be.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Intensive Care Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • COVID 19
  • critical care
  • ethics
  • intensive care
  • triage


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