Clinician gate-keeping is the process whereby healthcare providers prevent access to eligible patients for research recruitment. This paper contends that clinician gate-keeping violates three principles that underpin international ethical guidelines: respect for persons or autonomy; beneficence or a favourable balance of risks and potential benefits; and justice or a fair distribution of the benefits and burdens of research. In order to stimulate further research and debate, three possible strategies are also presented to eliminate gate-keeping: partnership with professional researchers; collaborative research design and clinician education.
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Funding This work was funded by grants from the Cancer Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council (ID no 509143).
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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