Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Social Science in Health Forum meeting, 3 Nov

In 2011 on October 27, 2011 at 7:12 am

The next meeting of the Social Science in Health Forum will be held from 6pm Thursday 3 Nov at the Trago Lounge on Portwsood Road. The focus will be the ownership of research data.  The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has a clear open access data policy, requiring that project data is placed in the ESDS (http://www.esds.ac.uk/) at the end of the project (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/_images/Research_Data_Policy_2010_tcm8-4595.pdf).  However, social science research carried out within medicopeal schools is likely to be funded from a variety of sources, including as part of large scale medical projects.  These funders are likely to have different views on whether data should be open to other researchers in the same way. 

This informal meeting will open with a quick overview of the ESRC data policy and then focus on exploring our personal experiences of working on research projects, including who owns and controls the use of data. Phd student and postdocs from any field who are concerned with the question, “who owns the data you are producing?”are all welcome.

If you’d like to attend please contact Ingrid Holme (i.holme AT soton.ac.uk).

This week’s meeting!

In 2011, Meetings, Testing project on October 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm

This week we have a HEAL meeting on Wednesday 26 October at 1pm (til circa 2pm) in 2007/4 (Law), Highfield, with Sarah Barclay, founder of the Medical Mediation Foundation.Sarah will be speaking on the Foundation’s project on mediation and conflict resolution in paediatric care.

See further: http://www.medicalmediation.org.uk/who-are-we.

Case of the week: October 17, 1985

In Case of the week, Reproduction, Testing project on October 19, 2011 at 6:16 am

Throughout the 1980s, Victoria Gillick, a pro-life campaigner, undertook a legal battle. Her initial action was sparked by the 1980 DHSS circular (an update of the 1974 DHSS circular), which allowed doctors to provide contraceptive advice and treatment to under-16 year old girls – they were entitled to doctor-patient confidentiality and in need of protection from risks such as pregnancy and STDs. Victoria Gillick contacted her local Area Health Authority seeking assurance that none of her five daughters would be provided the contraceptive pill without parental consent. When this was not forthcoming she took legal action to challenge the provisions of the circular.

At first instance, she sought a declaration that the guidance was unlawful and adversely affected parental rights and duties. Her initial failure in the lower court was followed by success in the Court of Appeal where the Lord Justices unanimously agreed that the guidance in the circular was unlawful; hence doctors should not be able to give contraceptive advice and treatment to under-16 year olds without parental consent, except in cases of emergency.

The DHSS appealed to the House of Lords where they succeeded with a 3:2 majority. Lords Fraser, Scarman and Bridge accepted that if an under-16 year old was competent enough to understand the issues involved and the doctor believed it was in her best interests, then it was lawful for a doctor to provide contraceptive advice and treatment without parental consent. Lord Fraser’s guidelines gave rise to the ‘Gillick competence’ test, often referred to as ‘Fraser competence’, which is now widely used to assess issues of competence of under-16 year old children (including with regard medical treatment).  Gillick was the first legal recognition of the rights of under-16 year olds to give effective consent and remains the leading case in this area. The Gillick principles were reaffirmed in 2006 in Axon, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Health [2006] EWHC 37; see also coverage by the BBC.

This is a guest post by Emma Nottingham of the Law School, University of Southampton.

New Chair for NHS Commissioning Board

In News, NHS on October 17, 2011 at 9:42 am

Former Southampton law lecturer, Malcolm Grant, has been announced as  the preferred candidate to Chair the NHS Commissioning Board and will appear before the Health Select Committee this morning prior to his appointment being confirmed.

The Commissioning Board will be at the centre of the NHS, and Malcolm’s appointment is a crucial one. The Commissioning Board will establish the strategy for the NHS under the reforms to be introduced by the Health and Social Care Bill currently before Parliament and oversee its operation. We already know that Sir David Nicholson will be the first chief executive of the Board, ultimately to be known by the modest name of NHS England. That provides continuity with the current system. The Chair needs to respect the learning of the past, but also be bold in shaping a better future.

It is easy to see why Malcolm was an attractive candidate. He has an impressive record of delivery in public facing organisations with a global reputation, having built University College London (of which he is currently Provost) into a strong global brand. He is used to working in a knowledge based economy with some of the leading practitioners in the world, something the NHS aspires to (and sometimes, but sadly not always, achieves). He is familiar with the political dynamics of policy making in the public sector, having chaired the Local Government  Commission for England for five years. He is no stranger to public concern, having chaired the Independent Steering Board for the  Public Debate on Genetically Modified Foods. He can work with business and has a Prime Ministerial appointment as British Business Ambassador to show for it. All in all, well qualified for the role.

We look forward to seeing how he tackles his new NHS position.

Jonathan Montgomery declares interests as both chair of NHS Hampshire and also a former colleague of Malcolm’s when he was at Southampton’s Law School. The views expressed are, of course, his own.

This Time Last Year: internet sperm traders

In News 2010 on October 10, 2011 at 8:32 am

In October 2010, two men who reportedly made £250,000 from the provision of fresh sperm via the internet were given suspended prison sentences. The pair – Ricky Gage and Nigel Woodforth – were convicted for the illegal provision of sperm without a licence, contrary to the provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. Nine month suspended sentences were handed down, and the pair were fined £15,000 each and ordered to undertake 200 hours community service and contribute towards the prosecution’s costs.

This was the first case to test and clarify these provisions, despite the fact the first internet sperm trader in Britain started up in 2002 (Man Not Included: it has since closed and the director was jailed for fraud – but no prosecution was sought at the time in relation to the provision of sperm without a licence).


BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-11521464;

HFEA: http://www.hfea.gov.uk/6086.html

Bionews: http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_73005.asp


On Man Not Included: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7337576.stm

Nuffield Council’s Report on Human Bodies

In 2011, Human tissue, News on October 10, 2011 at 7:46 am

The Nuffield Council’s Report on ‘Human Bodies: donation for medicine and research’ will be published on Tuesday October 11. A launch seminar will be held that afternoon with members of the Working Party and guests discussing the Report’s conclusions and policy recommendations.

According to the Nuffield Council’s website, the two key issues addressed in the Report are:

  1. How far should society go in trying to encourage people to donate their bodily material? For example, is it acceptable to offer people money?
  2. What is the role of the government and others in responding to the demand for bodily material? For example, how can barriers to donation be removed, and how can the need for donated bodily material be reduced?

Further information, including details on how to book a place at this event, can be found here.

Webcast of interest on 5 October: ‘Balancing Biomedical Research and Ethics: What can Ireland Learn from Canadian Stem Cell Research Policy?

In Uncategorized on October 5, 2011 at 7:15 am

Guest Speaker Gemma Moore (University College Dublin, Ireland) will be delivering a presentation on Wednesday 5th October, as a guest speaker in the HCTP seminar series in the University of Toronto from 1-2 pm Toronto time, which is 6-7 pm Irish time. The title of the presentation is ‘Balancing Biomedical Research and Ethics: What can Ireland Learn from Canadian Stem Cell Research Policy?’ and comes at the end of her visit to the University. Theseminar will be broadcast live via webcast (see link below) where you are welcome to view the seminar and ask questions or provide feedback.

 Live Webcast Link: http://epresence.med.utoronto.ca/1/live/554.aspx

Information: http://www.hctp.utoronto.ca/

Halsbury’s Laws reissues volume on Medical Professions

In 2011 on October 4, 2011 at 9:19 am

A new volume of Halsbury’s Laws of England has been issued covering Medical Professions broadly defined to include the doctors, opticians, dentists, osteopaths, chiropractors,  pharmacists nurses, midwives and other professions regulated under the Health Professions Council. The statutory regime for professional regulation is set out in each case, and a chapter on general duties, liabilities and regulation covers the  law on a wide range of issues from consent and confidentiality to the  regulation of fertility services and the use of human tissue and organs.

Halsbury’s Laws of England is the longest established encyclopaedia of English law and began publishing in 1907. The new volume, for which HEAL member Jonathan Montgomery was consultant editor, is Vol 74 in the fifth edition. It is a standard reference work and can be found in many libraries both in the UK and internationally. It sets out to describe the law accurately and succinctly and is a reliable place to start research. It sticks closely to the text of legal materials and avoids speculating about interpretation.

World Mental Health Day 10th October

In 2011, Mental Health on October 3, 2011 at 7:17 am

Sandy Walker‚ lecturer in Mental Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences‚ is organising a week of activity around World Mental Health Day‚ which is on Monday October 10th 2011.

The week of activity kicks off on Saturday 8th October with stalls in Portsmouth town centre giving out information on Mental Health and an evening opening celebration of open mic poetry with a mental health theme at the Florence Arms in Southsea.

The week of activity is focused around the main conference to be held on the Monday at Portsmouth Guildhall, entitled “Mental Health – Everyone’s Business” and will be opened by the Major of Portsmouth to celebrate service user empowerment and to help reduce the stigma towards mental health.

Further information is available here and on Facebook.  If you would like to be involved contact Sandy by email at s.c.walker@soton.ac.uk.