Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Joint CELS/HEAL event: 16 December 2011

In 2011, Human tissue, Meetings on December 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

On Friday 16 December, 1-2.30pm, in room 2209, building 85 (Life Sciences, Highfield), we have a joint CELS/HEAL seminar led by Jessica Wright on The Human Tissue Act 2004 and Tissue Research in England: Does the Act promote the harmonisation of cancer tissue banks?      All are welcome.

Abstract: International calls have been made for organisations that collect, store and transport human tissue samples for research purposes to standardise their practices to enable more effective scientific collaboration.  Cooperation between cancer tissue banks could encourage higher quality samples and data, allow larger, more powerful research projects to take place, and provide opportunities for rare cancers to be studied. Despite this, lack of standardisation and non-cooperation remain the prominent features of the field. This study aims to identify the barriers and facilitators to cooperation.


Preliminary results identify the Human Tissue Act and related system (HTA) as the relevant legal standard in England, so it is important to ask whether it promotes the harmonisation of cancer tissue banks. To an extent, the HTA has promoted harmonisation, for example through the introduction of the Research Tissue Bank approval system and compulsory standards that improve tissue quality. But there are concerns that the HTA impedes harmonisation by costing money to implement, holding-up tissue collection, obliging researchers to dispose of valuable samples, causing confusion and marginalising pathologists. In conclusion, while improving aspects of the system implemented by the HTA would help the harmonisation of cancer tissue banks, further standards are also needed.

Time for a ‘Silverline’?

In 2011, Care on December 5, 2011 at 7:30 am

In yesterday’s Sunday Times it was reported that Esther Rantzen has called for a ‘Silverline’ equivalent of Childline for ‘older people’ (often, but not exclusively, defined as persons aged 65 years and above, see EHRC FAQs). This call comes hot on the heels of two hard-hitting Reports in recent months, both critical of the quality of care received by older persons. In October, the Care Quality Commission reported their findings on Dignity and Nutrition for Older People and in November the Equality and Human Rights Commission published Close to Home: An inquiry into older people and human rights in home care.

The CQC inspected 100 hospitals to assess whether older people were i) treated with respect, and ii) got the food and drink fit for their needs. Of these hospitals, 20 failed to meet one or both standards. Further, the EHRC found that almost 500,000 older people receive care in their own homes, paid partly or wholly by the local authority, and while many received care that respected their human rights, it cautioned that this is not a ‘universal experience.’ Of those who gave evidence to the inquiry around 50% expressed satisfaction with the home care provided, but many examples were given that breached the human rights of the recipients.

Calls too are being made for the government to follow in the steps of the Welsh Assembly (and Northern Ireland) and to establish their equivalent of the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales. Whether by ‘Silverline’ or by Minister, or both, the demand for action to protect vulnerable older people is gathering pace – almost 6 years since one of its neighbours deemed older people important enough to have a minister of their own (Wales, February 2006).