Coping with Legal Challenges Arising from the Pandemic: A HKU Webinar Series

State and Professional Autonomy: Conflicting Rights and Obligations in the State-Profession Relationship

Dr. Calvin Ho & Daisy Cheung Department of Law, HKU

This talk considers the ethical and legal relationship between healthcare professions and the state in the context of the Hong Kong response to COVID-19. In particular, it queries the extent that nurses and doctors, as members of state-sanctioned professions, are able (and perhaps even under obligation) to challenge the decisions of the state on the control and treatment of the infectious disease. In this respect, the talk seeks to broaden the discussions in the ethical and legal literature on the state-professional relationship in healthcare, which has primarily focused on appropriate health workforce regulation for the purposes of ensuring patient safety and quality of care. Although nurses and doctors are neither trained nor equipped to mobilise an all-of-society response that is needed for a pandemic, it is envisaged that they could have a greater role in addressing collection action problems that relate to public health and in the shaping of a response to the next pandemic.

About the Speaker:

Dr Calvin Ho’s research is primarily on the governance of health- and biomedical technologies, and more generally on medical law and ethics, as well as the normative aspects of health systems (especially on health insurance and access to health) and global health. He is currently an Ethics Board member of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), and was the Co-Head of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Bioethics in Singapore (2014-2019).

Daisy’s research interests are in the field of medical law, primarily mental health law and ethics. She is also interested in issues in assisted reproduction. Daisy is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Medical Ethics & Law and currently teaches on the LLM for Medical Ethics and Law programme.