- This paper presents the issues relating to rationing in the NHS. The group holds the view that rationing is unavoidable and feels that there should be a more explicit debate about the principles and issues involved. Questions are considered under four headings: preliminaries, ethics, democracy and empirical questions. The preliminaries deal with the semantics of rationing, whether rationing is necessary, and with the range of services to which rationing relates. Under ethics and democracy are the substantive issues of principle and theory. The final section deals with empirical questions and those relating to the practicality of various strategies. Case studies used to illustrate the issues are: 'Child B'; the treatment of an elderly dying woman; interferon beta; and in vitro fertilisation.