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Clinical ethics committees: a worldwide development
  1. Anne Slowther,
  2. Tony Hope,
  3. Richard Ashcroft
  1. University of Oxford and Imperial College, London

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    Clinical ethics committees (CECs) are well established in North America where they are known as hospital or health care ethics committees. Similar groups and other kinds of clinical ethics support are now developing in Europe. This supplement to the Journal of Medical Ethics provides an overview of the issues arising from the provision of clinical ethics support services, and clinical ethics committees in particular. Its primary focus is the UK but contributors from North America and continental Europe provide an international perspective.

    Clinical ethics committees are an emerging feature of UK health care. This supplement's first paper provides an overview of the current provision of clinical ethics support in the UK and an assessment of the way in which CECs are developing. Personal perspectives from five UK CECs provide insight into some of the issues that those considering setting up a committee in their …

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    • Anne Slowther, MRCGP, MA, is an NHS R&D Primary Care Research Training Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Ethics and Communication in Health Care Practice (Ethox). Tony Hope, PhD, FRCPsych, is Director of Ethox and Professor of Medical Ethics, Division of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Oxford. Richard Ashcroft, MA, PhD, is Sir Siegmund Warburg Lecturer in Medical Ethics, Medical Ethics Unit, Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, Imperial College, London.

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