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Human tissue legislation: listening to the professionals
  1. A V Campbell1,
  2. S A M McLean2,
  3. K Gutridge3,
  4. H Harper4
  1. 1
    Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Clinical Research Centre, Singapore
  2. 2
    Institute of Law, Ethics and Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3
    Centre for Ethics in Medicine, University of Bristol, UK
  4. 4
    Institute of Law, Ethics and Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK
  1. Professor Alastair V Campbell, Chen Su Lan Centennial Professor of Medical Ethics and Director of the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Block MD11 #02-04 Clinical Research Centre, 10 Medical Drive, Singapore 117597; medavc{at}nus.edu.sg

Abstract

The controversies in Bristol, Alder Hey and elsewhere in the UK surrounding the removal and retention of human tissue and organs have led to extensive law reform in all three UK legal systems. This paper reports a short study of the reactions of a range of health professionals to these changes. Three main areas of ethical concern were noted: the balancing of individual rights and social benefit; the efficacy of the new procedures for consent; and the helpfulness for professional practice of the new legislation and regulation. Recognition of these concerns may help in forging a new partnership between professionals and patients and their families.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • iA full report of this project is available from the corresponding author.

  • iiThese comments were made while the Human Tissue Bill was still being debated. In fact the Act does permit this range of activities without consent on tissue from the living, provided (in the case of research) the tissue is anonymised and the research is approved by a research ethics committee. In Scotland, the new legislation will cover only tissue from the deceased.

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