Posts Tagged ‘Bioethics’

Today’s HEAL meeting: ‘Regulating Bioethics in the UK’

In 2012, Meetings on July 20, 2012 at 11:36 am

This lunchtime Jonathan Montgomery will be talking on ‘Regulating Bioethics in the UK’ (from 1pm in room 2007/4, Highfield), drawing on his earlier public lecture at Portsmouth Cathedral on ‘Whose ethics are bioethics?’  in the series ‘Society and Our Values’. To whet your appetites for today’s discussion, the essence of his earlier talk is summarised thus:  

“This lecture examines the implications of the plurality of ethics for the processes that we can use, in the UK, in 2012, to set public policy on bioethics. In particular, I am concerned with the opportunities and challenges that arise as that regulatory landscape is changing significantly. In this sense, the question is ‘Which ethics is bioethics?’ and asks us to choose the methodology for making such decisions. The current Government has adopted a very different approach to doing public bioethics from the one that had become established over the previous thirty years. Over that period, public bioethics in the UK has largely been done by committee – the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority or the Human Genetics Commission being leading examples. When it took power, the Government boldly announced the demise of these organisations in its bonfire of the quangos (although the actual death is long and agonising), but has not really explained how public bioethics will be done in its absence. My aim in this paper is to consider some of the options and how the churches might respond to the opportunities that they present.”



Final Report from Human Genetics Commission

In 2012, Genetics on June 1, 2012 at 8:00 am

The Human Genetics Commission has published its final report, report summarising its work and achievements since its creation in 1999.

In his introduction to the report, HEAL member Jonathan  Montgomery, who chaired the Commission from 2009-2012, notes that the Commission’s work has led to policy and legislative changes, and the principles that have underpinned its reports have established a framework for responding to the possibilities that our enhanced scientific knowledge is creating.

‘Just as significant has been the approach the HGC has pioneered of open and transparent deliberation. It has combined rigorous thinking with listening carefully to people’s views, facilitating public debate, and using different media for the exploration of matters within its remit. Its success has been built on the high quality of its Members, the advice of its Consultative Panel, and the many contributions received from those who have engaged with its consultations and other work. It has also been blessed with an excellent Secretariat, without which it would have floundered.’

The report summarises the work and achievements of the HGC over the twelve years of its existence. The first chair Baroness Helena Kennedy writes ‘The creation of the HGC in 1999 was a courageous move, and a concrete indication by the Government that it hoped to encourage a debate about how we as a society should deal with important aspects of human genetics. Many of these aspects were of a profound philosophical nature, taking us to the heart of our idea of ourselves as humans, while other aspects were more practical.’

Professor Sir John Sulston, Acting Chair of the Commission 2008-9, drew attention to the conclusion of  the independent review of the HGC undertaken in 2008 that the HGC consistently ‘punched above its weight in terms of influencing public policy’, and commented that ‘there is no doubt that the HGC represented exceptional value for money. It demonstrated that it could respond quickly to changing agendas and specific requests for advice from Ministers, providing careful evaluation of emerging technology.

This latter role will now be taken up by the new Emerging Science and Bioethics Advisory Committee (ESBAC) under the chairmanship of Sir Alisdair Breckenridge.

Publish or Perish

In 2012 on May 23, 2012 at 8:44 am

“Publishing in Bioethics: Intensive Course on Research and Publishing in the field of Bioethics(Leuven, Belgium, 10 -12 October 2012)

The Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law (of KU Leuven) is organising an intensive course on research and publishing in bioethics and medical humanities. Many researchers are struggling to get their work published. The objective of this course is to provide them and anyone interested in publishing in bioethics and the medical humanities with coherent information and support. The course offers all the necessary practical tools to get well-planned research work published.

The course will combine lectures with practical examples. There will be time for discussions. Participants will be invited to present their own research work in progress. The language of instruction will be English.

The course is of interest to participants from diverse professional backgrounds, such as nursing, medicine, philosophy and theology, health care administration, to PhD students undertaking courses of study in these areas and to more senior researchers. Anyone interested in publishing in bioethics and the medical humanities will benefit from this course. This intensive course is part of the Erasmus Mundus Master of Bioethics programme organised by a consortium of three European universities, namely the KU Leuven (Belgium), Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (The Netherlands) and the Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy). Because of this combination, participants of the intensive course will join Master students from all over the world.

Detailed information on registration and payment can be found at www.masterbioethics.org under Intensive Courses.

Who wants to be an expert bioethicist? Applications wanted

In 2012 on March 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm

The Department of Health is looking to recruit a chair and members to a new expert committee to provide advice on bioethics, the Emerging Science and Bioethics Advisory Committee (ESBAC).  It says that ESBAC will be the main UK advisory body on the wider implications of developments in bioscience and its impact for health when it is established as an expert committee on 1 May 2012. It will provide advice to UK health departments on emerging healthcare scientific developments and their ethical, legal, social and economic implications.

Under its Terms of Reference,

The purpose of ESBAC is to provide expert advice to support policy development and priority setting. The committee will operate in accordance with best practice for advisory committees with regard to openness, transparency, accessibility, timeliness and exchange of information. Work will include:
• horizon scanning to identify developments in health related biosciences and biotechnologies;
• analyse new and emerging health related biosciences and biotechnologies and provide advice on:
        o their likely impact on human health and healthcare;
        o their social, ethical, legal and economic implications;
• providing a forum for the consideration of issues that cut across the remit of more than one interest group, government department or UK country;
• detailed consideration of specific issues related to emerging health related biosciences and biotechnologies as requested.

Applications need to be in by noon on 4 April 2012. Forms are available at the link above.

The Committee is expected to provide a broad spectrum of expertise, not only in health related biosciences and biotechnology, but also in medical, social, ethical, legal, commercial and public communication issues. Members are sought to cover the following broad disciplinary categories: Social sciences and the Humanities,Law, Economics, Industry, Science in Society (media, journalism, public engagement) and Biosciences and Biotechnology.