Archive for 2016|Yearly archive page

HEAL member speaks at international conference on uterus transplantation

In Uncategorized on October 10, 2016 at 9:14 am


Dr Natasha Hammond-Browning was invited to speak at an international conference at the University of Lancaster (September 2016). The conference, ‘The Ethics of Uterus Transplantation’, was organised as part of a Wellcome grant awarded to Professor Rosamund Scott (KCL) and Professor Stephen Wilkinson (Lancaster). The conference brought together academics and clinicians from around the globe to debate the ethics and to discuss the medical progress being made in the field of uterus transplantation. Dr Hammond-Browning’s paper, ‘Undue concerns about uterus transplantation? Or, is ectogenesis the way forward?’ discussed concerns of uterus transplantation, and whether artificial wombs were the solution to those concerns.


Second Annual Jonathan Montgomery Lecture

In Uncategorized on October 7, 2016 at 8:31 am

We are pleased to announce that the 2nd Annual Jonathan Montgomery Lecture will be held on 26th October 2016. This year’s lecture is entitled ‘Framing a New Interspecies Ethics:
The Role of Care Theory in the Laboratory’. This year’s lecture will be given by Prof. Marie Fox of the University of Liverpool. We hope to see you there.


Exploring Commonalities in Global Health Research Thursday, 16 June, Southampton

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2016 at 11:09 am

On Thursday 16 June, the Global Health Research Institute (GHRI) of the University of Southampton is organising an event on ‘Exploring Commonalities in Global Health Research’ at the Hilton Hotel (Southampton, SO16 3RB).

Further information, including the programme of the day, can be found here:


Following a first workshop held in February 2016, this event aims at bringing together global health researchers at the University of Southampton with external stakeholders to further collaboration. Four research themes will facilitate such discussions: 1) Nutrition and Development; 2) Infections; 3) Population; and 4) Right to Health/Governance/Ethics.

In the Right to Health/Governance/Ethics theme, coordinated by Dr Claire Lougarre from Southampton Law School, Professor Lisa Forman will present her views on ‘The Right to Health and Global Health Policy’, with Professor John Coggon from Southampton Law School acting as respondent.  Professor Forman holds a Canada Research Chair in Human Rights and Global Health Equity at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Professor Lisa Forman (theme presenter) is a human rights lawyer and leading scholar on the right to health. She worked closely with various NGOs and UN institutions, including the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health. For more details on Lisa’s background and research, please see: http://www.dlsph.utoronto.ca/faculty-profile/forman-lisa/

Professor John Coggon (theme respondent) is an expert on legal, moral and political theory applied to human health and welfare, and a leading legal scholar on the philosophy of public health. He is currently member of the British Medical Journal’s Ethics Committee, and of the University Hospital Southampton’s Clinical Ethics Committee. For more details on John’s background and research, please see: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/law/about/staff/jc4r11.page

Finally, Dr Claire Lougarre (theme coordinator) is a human rights lawyer specialised on the right to health. She is involved in various research networks, including the Academic Network on the European Social Charter (ANESC/RACSE), and the Economic and Social Rights Academic Network UK and Ireland (ESRAN-UKI). For more details on Claire’s background and research, please see: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/law/about/staff/cl5u13.page

Everyone is welcome to attend; the point of this workshop being to raise awareness of the GHRI’s existence and work, as well as to attract researchers to join. If you wish to attend, please register via eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exploring-commonalities-in-global-health-research-2-tickets-22167699185

Drinks and/or dinner will also be held after the event, at 6pm, near Highfield Campus. If you wish to attend, please email Dr Claire Lougarre by Monday 30 May (C.lougarre@soton.ac.uk).

In order to be notified of future events organised by the GHRI, please email Ms Frances Clarke (F.M.Clarke@soton.ac.uk) who will add you as a member.

Reproductive Futures: Reproductive Choices?

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2016 at 2:50 pm

4th and 5th July 2016 Southampton

This meeting is designed to bring together academics working on human reproduction from legal and ethical perspectives, in order to consider and reflect on the next era in this field. The key objective of the meeting is to facilitate the cross-fertilisation of ideas on issues that are currently on the reproductive radar, broadly conceived. These ideas will include both a re-engagement with established ‘traditional’ debates (in light of recent developments), and ‘new’ challenges posed by emergent technologies. Amongst others, topics include surrogacy, abortion, and assisted reproductive technologies.

Confirmed speakers include: Julie McCandless (LSE), Kirsty Horsey (University of Kent), and Rita D’Alton Harrison (Royal Holloway). Programme to follow soon:

HEAL website: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/heal/news/events/2016/07/04-reproductive-futures.page? HEAL blog: https://healuos.wordpress.com

Kindly supported by the Socio-Legal Studies Association and the Centre for Health Ethics and Law at the University of Southampton.

This workshop will be held from lunchtime on Monday 4th of July to lunchtime on Tuesday 5th July 2016, at Jurys Inn in Southampton (Charlotte Place, SO14 0TB). There will also be a workshop dinner on Monday 4th July. Attendance is free (including lunch both days and the dinner), but numbers are limited. Recommendations for accommodation are available on request. Please register through the eventbrite website: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reproductive-futures-reproductive-choices-tickets-25195019983

PGR bursaries: We have available a limited number of bursaries for travel and subsistence up to £100 for postgraduate research students. If you wish to be considered for one of the bursaries please send a summary of up to 350 words explaining how this workshop will benefit your postgraduate research, and how this funding will support your attendance. Please register through Eventbrite and send your summary by email to Dr Claire Lougarre by 5pm on Monday 6th June: C.Lougarre@soton.ac.uk

Organising Committee and contact details: Chairs: Dr Natasha Hammond-Browning (N.Hammond-Browning@soton.ac.uk) and Dr Claire Lougarre (C.Lougarre@soton.ac.uk), Lecturers in Law, Southampton Law School, supported by Dr Elselijn Kingma and Dr Fiona Woollard, Lecturers in Philosophy, Philosophy Department, University of Southampton

Programme: Jury’s Inn, Charlotte Place, Southampton SO14 0TB

Monday 4 July 2016

12:00 – 12:30pm Registration

12:30 – 13:30 Two course lunch in Jury’s Inn restaurant for all attendees

13:30: Introduction

13:45 – 15:30 Session 1 – New Technologies and Technique

Dr Amel Alghrani (Liverpool)

Dr Natasha Hammond-Browning (Southampton)

Dr Cesar Palacios-Gonzalez (KCL)

15:30 – 15:45 Break

15:45 – 17:00 Session 4 – Reproductive Rights

Dr Claire Lougarre (Southampton)

Dr Elselijn Kingma (Southampton)

19:00 – Dinner for all attendees at The Blue Island, Above Bar Street, Southampton. Meet at 18:45 to depart on foot from the Jurys Inn


Tuesday 5 July 2016

8:30 – 9:00 Coffee

09:00 – 10:45 Session 3 – Surrogacy

Rita D’Alton Harrison (Royal Holloway)

Dr Kirsty Horsey (Kent)

Dr Julie McCandless (LSE)

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:15 Session 2 – Abortion

Dr Ruth Fletcher (Queen Mary)

Dr Sheelagh McGuinness (Bristol)

12:15 – 13:00 Session 4 – Reflective Session

Professor Marie Fox (Birmingham)

Thank you’s from Dr Natasha Hammond-Browning and Dr Claire Lougarre (Southampton)

13:00 – 14:00 Two course lunch in Jury’s Inn restaurant for all attendees and depart

Reproductive Futures Programme Final

Reproductive Futures Advert v2

New Book: Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2016 at 10:16 am

Dr. A.M. Viens co-authored two case studies with Maxwell Smith in the new book, Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe (Springer), published this month.  One case study is on critical care triage in pandemics and the other case study is on mass evacuations for public health emergencies. This work is part of Dr. Viens’ on-going and larger research agenda on ethical and legal issues surrounding disasters and emergencies.

Dr. Drue H. Barrett, Lead of the Public Health Ethics Unit at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, is the lead editor on the project. The book is available in hardback, as well as electronically as a free, open-access publication

Book synopsis: “This book highlights the ethical issues and dilemmas that arise in the practice of public health. It is also a tool to support instruction, debate, and dialogue regarding public health ethics… There are few practical training resources for public health practitioners, especially resources which include discussion of realistic cases which are likely to arise in the practice of public health. This work discusses these issues on a case to case basis and helps create awareness and understanding of the ethics of public health care. The main audience for the casebook is public health practitioners, including front-line workers, field epidemiology trainers and trainees, managers, planners, and decision makers who have an interest in learning about how to integrate ethical analysis into their day to day public health practice.”            

Health Research Authority Research Ethics Committees – Vacancies for Lay Members in Hampshire

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2016 at 9:55 am

The role of the Health Research Authority is to protect and promote the interests of patients and the public in health research, and to streamline the regulation of research.

The Health Research Authority is responsible for NHS Research Ethics Committees. Our RECs are managed through the Research Ethics Service (RES). Research Ethics Committees consist of up to 15 members from both clinical and non-clinical backgrounds. Our Committees review health and social research, check that people are provided with the information they need to help them decide whether they wish to take part, and provide an opinion as to whether the research is ethical.

We currently have vacancies for members of the public who are not healthcare professionals or who have recently retired from a health service background, and who are interested in thinking about issues from the perspective of a potential research participant and would like to develop knowledge of research ethics. HRA Research Ethics Committee members receive training in ethical review and have opportunities to debate challenging issues.

We are particularly seeking people from the Hampshire area with the following backgrounds:

 • Members of the general public

• Social care professionals (excluding social workers, who would be Lay)

• Sociologists

• Statisticians with no clinical trials experience

• Academic ethicists

• Lawyers

• Chaplains

• NHS administrative, technical and support staff (not involved in management of clinical trials)

 There are 68 RECs which meet across England. Positions are voluntary, but expenses are paid for attendance at REC meetings and training events, including travel and childcare costs if applicable. Committees meet on average for half a day per month, 10 times per year and you will need to be able to attend at least 6 meetings per year plus be available to participate in Sub-Committee business held by email correspondence between meetings.

 We have a positive approach to diversity and encourage applications from all sections of the community.

What people say about us:

 An Ethics Committee Member’s view

‘The interaction with sharp young minds, seeing that spark of understanding and spark of curiosity knowing you have helped shape that through engaging with and encouraging them, was particularly enjoyable’.

A Researcher’s view

‘I thought that the Committee had considered my application fairly, invested time in it, and raised useful comments regarding my study’.

 ‘The review from the Research Ethics Committee assured me that my project was ethically sound and gave me more confidence to approach NHS managers for their support’.

 ‘The questions raised by the REC contributed toward improving the proposal and we are very grateful for that’.

A Patient’s view

‘I am very pleased to have been part of something that has resulted in these drugs becoming licensed’.

An application pack is available to be downloaded from the HRA website:


Or you can contact Libby Watson, Deputy Regional Manager, at libby.watson1@nhs.net or on 02071048031 for further information. 

‘Womb transplants: Are they worth the risk?’ by Dr Natasha Hammond-Browning

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2016 at 10:00 pm

Dr Natasha Hammond-Browning has published a piece in Bionews on womb transplants in the US, and the concerns that these clinical trials raise. ‘Womb transplants: Are they worth the risk?’ Womb transplants – are they worth the risk?

Natasha is currently conducting research around womb transplants, surrogacy and artificial wombs.

Extending the Welsh Transplantation Opt-out to Biobanks

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2016 at 11:05 am

By Hazel Biggs and Samuel Walker

On the 1st of December 2015 the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 came into force which created an opt-out system of organ donation in Wales. Additionally, it revised the provisions of the Human Tissue Act 2004 (HTA) to accommodate the operation of this system. This act introduced a system of presumed consent (called ‘deemed consent’ in the Act) for organ donation for those over 18 who have been resident in Wales for at least 12 months[1]. Under the Welsh notion of deemed consent, if a competent adult has not expressed their view regarding organ donation at the time of their death and no relative or ‘friend of longstanding’[2] objects, organs can be lawfully removed for the purposes of transplantation. Deemed consent has been introduced following a wide ranging public awareness campaign on the basis of the clear public health advantages associated with increasing the number of organs available for transplantation. The Welsh Government expects to see an increase in organ donation with an additional 15 donors per year leading to potentially 75 more transplants.


Donated tissue is used not only for the purposes of transplantation, it also provides a valuable resource for tissue banks and biobanks. For example, the Wales Cancer Bank gathers tissue and blood samples from patients, which are banked as a resource for research into cancer. Subject to ethical approval, researchers from Wales and across the world can apply for access to the banked samples to conduct research into various forms of cancer. However, biobanks also face the requirement of obtaining explicit consent for donation which has been a barrier to both increasing the number of organs available for transplantation and to increasing the samples held by biobanks. The protracted process of gaining evidenced informed consent for gathering tissue samples for this research has the potential to limit the size of the biobank and consequently its value as a resource for health research. Using an opt-out system to increase the resource capacity of a biobank has been used before at the Nashville Vanderbilt University Biobank (BioVU) – although this has now switched to an opt-in system due to changes in the National Institutes of Health regulations. Nevertheless, we can draw on the experience of BioVU to inform any opt-out system in Wales, particularly where these concerns relate to conveying information to prospective donors.

At present tissue samples are obtained from patients who have been tested for, diagnosed with or are suffering from cancer and which are surplus to diagnostic requirements, with additional blood samples being taken at the same time as blood is taken for diagnostic purposes. According to the Human Tissue Act 2004 s.3(2) and Schedule One, human material for use in research requires the patient’s consent and currently biobanks like the Wales Cancer Bank acquire samples donated by patients under an opt-in system of consent. However, a deemed consent approach would be likely to increase the number of samples donated and the associated benefits of the biobank. This could be introduced as an amendment of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 to extend the opt-out system to tissue and blood samples retained for Cancer Bank. It is unclear, however, whether this would require any amendment to the HTA which simply states that ‘[w]here the person concerned is alive, “appropriate consent” means his consent’.[3] Moreover, sections 1(7) and 1(9) of the HTA specifically include research as an authorised purpose of bodily material collection. This seems to leave open at least the possibility of an opt-out system for biobank tissue and blood collections without the need to amend the HTA.

Noor A. A. Giesbertz, Annelien L. Bredenoord, Johannes J. M. van Delden[4] identify three features which make an opt-out system acceptable in relation to the use of residual or surplus tissues: first, patient awareness must be raised, secondly, information must be provided and, thirdly, patients must be genuinely able to object. Since the law has recently been changed to support on opt-out, or deemed consent system for organ donation in Wales it now seems pertinent to also amend the law to permit the same approach for tissues gathered for biobanking. In this environment it would not be problematic to raise awareness and provide detailed information to patients who are being investigated for or have been diagnosed with cancer about the value of biobanking. Similarly, the nature of investigation and treatment would facilitate mechanisms for patients to object and withdraw consent should they wish to.

It would, of course be imperative that patients’ rights are properly protected to avoid misuse of samples or breaches of confidentiality. Proper ethical scrutiny would be required to avoid the kind of abuses that occurred in the case of Henrietta Lacks[5] whose data was used for unauthorised commercial purposes. Robust governance structures such as those established for organ donation in Wales would safeguard against that. The shift towards an opt-out system of deemed consent for organ donation makes Wales an ideal location for the introduction of a similar system for donation of tissues for biobanking. There is already an awareness of how an opt-out system works, safeguards are already in place to protect patient choice and Wales already hosts the well connected and established Wales Cancer Bank. Deemed consent in this context would introduce greater efficiency in the collection process and result in a vast expansion of biobanks like the Wales Cancer Bank. The public health benefits of this extension of deemed consent could be equal to or greater than those expected to result from the move to an opt-out system for organ donation.


1) An amendment, if needed, to the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act is preferable to new legislation because it would be the most expedient method of introducing the extension and it makes clear the link between the rationale of an opt-out system and biobank sample collection.

2) Cancer banks use two distinct types of sample which may require greater information provision to patients. Tissue samples are residual samples that are not needed for diagnosis but which have already been collected. In contrast, the blood samples are taken in addition to the samples needed for medical treatment purposes. Consequently, it may not be straightforward to treat both the same because the blood collection component requires the active participation of the patient. Given the minimal interference of taking an additional blood sample this is not insurmountable but may require giving information to the patient making it clear that an extra blood sample will be taken.


3) Giesbertz et al only considered residual sample collection – for the collection of blood that is taken solely for research purposes seems to (in their view) require an opt-in system like other clinical research because the material is taken only as a result of and for research. However, if research samples are opportunistically taken when other diagnostic samples are also being taken then an opt-out system may still be appropriate because a discussion of these additional samples can be included when discussing the taking of diagnostic blood samples. Most importantly, once the skin has been penetrated multiple blood samples can be taken without further damage to the skin or multiple insertions.

 [1] Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 s.5(3)(a). The Welsh Act introduces a number of amendments which serves to either exclude Wales from certain restrictions under the Human Tissue Act 2004 or includes the Welsh Act as part of the functions of the Human Tissue Act: see Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 s.16.

[2] Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 s.4(4)(a).

[3] Human Tissue Act 2004 s.3(2).

[4] Inclusion of Residual Tissue in Biobanks: Opt-In or Opt-Out? (2012) 10 PLoS Biology.

[5] Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Pan 2011).

Upcoming Event: Panel Discussion on Improving Access to Medicines

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2016 at 7:59 pm
The Southampton branch of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) and the Centre for Health, Ethics and Law (HEAL) will be co-hosting a panel discussion on improving access to medicines on 25 February at 7pm in the Physics Building, Lecture Theatre B (46/2003), on Highfield Campus of the University of Southampton.
Speaker List:
Brian Ssensalire – StopAIDS
Saoirse Fitzpatrick – StopAIDS
Mary Gallagher – Médecins Sans Frontières
Anelise Rosa – Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
Dr. Tim Millar – Lecturer in Pharmacology, Southampton University
Professor James Raftery – Professor of Health Technology Assessment, Southampton University
Dr. A.M. Viens (Chair) – Associate Professor in Law, Southampton University

Upcoming HEAL Seminars

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2016 at 9:27 am
We have the pleasure of hosting two interesting talks in February by Drs. Kingma and Woollard (Southampton) and Dr. Kristin Voigt (McGill/Oxford), details of which you’ll find below.  We also have included information about an upcoming workshop on the breastfeeding dilemma, which you might be interested in.
1. February 10th, 4pm, 4/4051
Eliselijn Kingma and Fiona Woollard
“Harming your foetus: Pregnancy and difficult deontological distinctions”
According to common-sense morality and the law, there are much stronger constraints against doing harm than merely allowing harm or failing to benefit: doing harm is much harder to justify than merely allowing harm or failing to benefit; other things being equal, someone who does harm is seen as deserving much more blame and guilt than someone who merely allows harm; we can interfere to stop a person doing harm in a way that we could not interfere to prevent someone merely allowing harm. Mothers and pregnant women who fail to act in the best interests of their children are often treated as doing harm to others, rather than merely allowing harm or failing to benefit – and subjected to the kinds of blame, guilt and interference that go with doing harm. However, we argue that the distinction between doing and allowing does not apply easily in pregnancy.
2. February 24th, 4pm, 04/4005
Kristin Voigt
“The Testimonial injustice and the disclosure of ‘personal conflicts of interest’”
Miranda Fricker’s recent work calls attention to problems of testimonial injustice, i.e. injustice relating to how individuals are perceived in their capacity as ‘knowers’. In this paper, I consider Fricker’s concept of testimonial injustice in relation to speakers’ duties to reveal (or conceal) personal information about themselves. Specifically, I will focus on so-called ‘personal conflicts of interest’. While in many disciplines, academic journals standardly require authors to disclose financial interests, authors are sometimes also encouraged to disclose non-financial, ‘personal’ interests. In this paper, I argue, first, that disclosures of personal characteristics can raise problems of testimonial injustice: they can (a) unfairly undermine researchers’ credibility and (b) have broader effects that contribute to testimonial injustice. Second, the discussion highlights that duties of testimonial injustice arise not only when we act as hearers but also when act as speakers; I discuss three specific duties of this kind.
3. “The Breastfeeding Dilemma”
10am – 4pm, 23rd March 2016, London Southbank University,
Keyworth Centre, Keyworth Street, London SE1 6NG.
This workshop brings together academics, policy makers, medical professionals, parental support organisations, members of the media, mothers and members of the public to address the Breastfeeding Dilemma:  how do we encourage breastfeeding and support women in doing so, without subjecting those who choose not to breastfeed, or are unable to do so, to shame and guilt with potentially devastating consequences?  We explore philosophical mistakes in the way we talk and think about infant feeding choices and the impact pressure to breastfeed can have on maternal health and the experience of new motherhood. 
Morning:  Short talks
Afternoon: Fishbowl
An Open Fishbowl Dialogue will be used to allow all participants to contribute. 
Registration is free of charge, and will include lunch and tea and coffee. 
Please register by March 14th. If you would like to attend but childcare duties render your attendance difficult, please contact the organisers (as far in advance as possible).
For more information, program, accessibility information & registration: http://fionawoollard.weebly.com/breastfeeding-dilemma-workshop.html