New governance arrangements for research ethics committees: is facilitating research achieved at the cost of participants' interest

J Med Ethics. 2002 Oct;28(5):318-21. doi: 10.1136/jme.28.5.318.


This paper examines the UK's response to a recent European Clinical Trials Directive, namely the Department of Health, Central Office for Research Ethics Committee guidance, Governance Arrangements for NHS Research Ethics Committees. The revisions have been long awaited by researchers and research ethics committee members alike. They substantially reform the ethical review system in the UK. We examine the new arrangements and argue that though they go a long way toward addressing the uncertainty surrounding ethics committee function, the system favours the facilitation of research over the protection of the dignity and welfare of research participants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Ethics Committees, Research / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Ethics Committees, Research / standards*
  • Ethics, Research*
  • Health Services Research / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Services Research / standards*
  • Humans
  • National Health Programs / legislation & jurisprudence
  • National Health Programs / standards
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • United Kingdom