Article Text

Download PDFPDF
The quality of bioethics debate: implications for clinical ethics committees
  1. L Williamson
  1. Laura Williamson, School of Law, University of Glasgow, 8 The Square, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK; L.Williamson{at}


Bioethicists have recently expressed concern over a lack of quality control within the field. This apprehension focuses on bioethics expanding in ways that obscure its distinctive ethical remit and the specialist reasoning skills it requires. This thesis about the quality and conduct of bioethics may have particular relevance for clinical ethics. As one of the youngest offshoots of bioethics, the field focuses on the ethical issues that arise specifically in a clinical context. However, non-ethics specialists are increasingly involved in this field. This means that clinical ethics could be especially vulnerable to the quality control concerns articulated within bioethics. The growing public profile of clinical ethics means that concerns over quality in this area warrant specific attention by those concerned with declining standards in bioethics and those working in clinical ethics.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding: Research for this paper was conducted as part of a project funded by the Wellcome Trust (reference 07446) entitled Ethico-legal governance in health care.

  • Competing interests: None.