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Found 43 results
  1. News Article
    Women are being misled and manipulated about abortion by some crisis pregnancy advice centres in the UK, according to evidence from a BBC Panorama investigation. The centres operate outside the NHS and tend to be registered charities. Most say they don't refer women for abortions, but offer support and counselling for unplanned pregnancies. But the BBC's investigation reveals more than a third of these services give misleading medical information or unethical advice, and sometimes both. Pregnancy counselling is available through the NHS and regulated abortion providers, but searching online, Panorama identified 57 crisis pregnancy advice centres advertising. The BBC decided to investigate after hearing from women who had been to these centres. One said she had been "traumatised" and that the centre had tried to "manipulate" her into not having an abortion. Some 21 centres gave misleading medical information and/or unethical advice about abortion Seven centres said having a termination could lead to "post-abortion syndrome" - a mental health condition likened to post traumatic stress disorder, which is not recognised by the NHS. Eight centres linked abortion to infertility and problems carrying future pregnancies to term. Five centres linked abortion to an increased risk of breast cancer. Leading medic in the field of obstetrics, and director of an abortion provider, Dr Jonathan Lord, said women needed an "informed choice" which required "good quality unbiased information". Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 February 2023
  2. News Article
    A US government watchdog called for greater federal oversight of ethics boards that sign off on scientific studies, finding that for-profit companies have taken an outsize role in approving certain research and questioning whether financial motivations could put human subjects at risk. Federal regulations require that certain research on human subjects — including those testing the safety of new drugs — first get approval from a registered institutional research board. These boards, which are made up of at least five members and can include researchers and academics, are designed to make sure that a study poses as little risk as possible and that participants have enough information to give consent. While the majority of these boards are affiliated with universities, a small number have no affiliation with institutions conducting research. But according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), these independent boards now account for the largest share of reviews of studies involving new drugs and biologics. The GAO found that federal agencies overseeing the ethics panels inspect relatively few of them and lack ways to evaluate how well they protect people participating in research. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Washington Post, 16 February 2023
  3. Content Article
    Recommendations The report makes the following recommendations for designers and developers of digital tools, and the NHS organisations who select and implement them: Work with digital innovations that meet the highest standards for accessibility and usability; Test digital products and services thoroughly with a cross section of patients, providers and commissioners; Use data to optimise and improve delivery to improve outcomes and minimise exclusion over time. Understand how different people may need specific channels of delivery at different times or for different services; Ensure you capture data so you can measure and compare outcomes and experience by channel. Don’t plan care pathways for the majority – ensure it is optimised for those from minority backgrounds too; Consider the support needed to move people to digital pathways; Ensure equality impact assessments for transforming care pathways pay attention to digital exclusion as a potential risk of inequality. It is also calling for designers, developers and the NHS to work together on the following areas: We need to develop frameworks, similar to those seen for information governance and clinical safety, which would set out guidance for mitigating against health inequalities that could become adopted and embedded by design; Ethical considerations must be built into the clinical safety case of the tool and data used to inform or train algorithms must be thoroughly examined for bias.
  4. Community Post
    Way back in March I applied to re-join the NHS to help with COVID-19. I am a mental health nurse prescriber with an unblemished clinical record. I have had an unusual career which includes working in senior management before returning to clinical work in 2002. I have also helped deliver several projects that achieved nation recognition, including one that was highly commented by NICE in 2015, and one that was presented at the NICE Annual Conference in 2018. Several examples of my work can be found on the NICE Shared Learning resource pages. Since applying as an NHS returner. I have been interviewed online 6 times by 3 different organisations, all repeating the same questions. I was told that the area of work I felt best suited to working in - primary care/ community / mental health , specialising in prescribing and multi-morbidity - was in demand. A reference has been taken up and my DBS check eventually came through. I also received several (mostly duplicated) emails. On 29th June I received a call from the acute trust in Cornwall about returning. I explained that I had specified community / primary care as I have no recent acute hospital experience. The caller said they would pass me over to NHS Kernow, an organisation I had mentioned in my application. I have heard nothing since. I can only assume the backlisting I have suffered for speaking out for patients, is still in place. If this is true (and I am always open to being corrected) it is an appalling reflection on the NHS culture in my view. Here is my story: http://www.carerightnow.co.uk/i-dont-want-to-hear-anything-bad-whistleblowing-in-health-social-care/
  5. News Article
    The government of Mexico City handed out nearly 200 000 “ivermectin based kits” last year to people who had tested positive for Covid-19, without telling them they were subjects in an experiment on the drug’s effectiveness. The results of that experiment were then written up by public officials in an article placed on popular US preprint server SocArXiv. It became one of site’s most viewed articles, claiming that ivermectin had reduced hospital admissions by 52-76%. But those officials have been under fire at home since SocArXiv withdrew the paper earlier this month, calling it “either very poor quality or else deliberately false and misleading.” Opposition deputies in Mexico City’s Congress demanded hearings and said they would bring legal action against the paper’s lead author, José Merino, head of the city’s Digital Agency for Public Innovation. Explaining the decision to withdraw the article—the first to be taken down by SocArXiv—the site’s steering committee wrote that it had responded “to a community groundswell beseeching us to act” in order “to prevent the paper from causing additional harm.” The committee wrote, “The paper is spreading misinformation, promoting an unproved medical treatment in the midst of a global pandemic. The paper is part of, and justification for, a government programme that unethically dispenses (or did dispense) unproven medication apparently without proper consent or appropriate ethical protections.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 22 February 2022
  6. News Article
    Occupational health professionals should avoid employment and management matters related to unvaccinated NHS staff, new guidance has warned. The Faculty of Occupational Medicine guidance comes as trusts are considering their options of how to approach patient-facing staff who remain unvaccinated, including their potential redeployment or dismissal. However, HSJ understands some occupational health practitioners are concerned they may become entangled in difficult ethical issues, such as the vaccination status of individual employees, or disciplinary processes. Today’s FOM guidance said: “There is no scope for occupational health practitioners to provide an opinion on medical exemptions, whether to confirm or refute them… “Redeployment, dismissal and other employment consequences of vaccine refusal by a worker, within the scope of the proposed regulations, are entirely employment and management matters, and not an area in which occupational health should be involved.” FOM president Steve Nimmo said: “When the programme is implemented, occupational health professionals should be mindful of ethical and consent issues, and be careful not to be associated with any disciplinary process.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 7 January 2022
  7. Content Article
    The guidance covers the following areas: Part 1: Raising a concern Duty to raise concerns Overcoming obstacles to reporting Steps to raise a concern Part 2: Acting on a concern Investigating concerns Help and advice
  8. Content Article
    Once upon a time there was a little boy. Let’s call him Albert. Little Albert had grown up in the hospitals until one day, when he was just 9 months of age, he was taken by a couple who gave him lots of interesting and friendly objects to play with. One by one, Albert was shown bunnies, puppies and little white rats amongst other fascinating objects. He was intrigued by these soft play things and enjoyed exploring the shapes and textures that were new to the enquiring infant. One day as he was about to play with his favourite rat, Houdini (poetic licence employed here), there came from behind him a loud and frightening crash like the sound of metal being struck. The shock made him cry but he soon calmed as the noise died away. He settled to play with Houdini again. But once more, as he reached to pick him up from the cold wooden floor, the child was alarmed by the same loud clang. This happened again and again until eventually whenever Houdini was placed near to him, he began to cry with fear. His beloved pet and ally had now become an object of terror. The worst thing about this tale, is that it isn’t a tale at all. Instead, it is part of a regrettable body of research carried out by a very real couple of psychologists, John Watson and Rosalie Rayner, who wished to establish how phobias were formed. This study is very much set in a specific time before formalised codes of practice and ethics were formed. It is work that would thankfully not be possible to carry out in current times. In accordance with current UK ethics, such as the British Psychological Society’s ethical code (BPS 2018), this study would have been able to have been prevented on several grounds. The BPS guidelines require four principles to be followed: respect competence responsibility integrity. Amongst these principles, there are at least four issues that would be able to protect future participants in research from ever being treated in the way which befell Little Albert. Researchers now are required to: respect participants’ dignity not share identifiable personal details remain aware of the wellbeing of the participant ensure that they do not abuse their potentially perceived position of power. Watson and Rayner did none of these things. They certainly did not treat Little Albert in such a way that his dignity remained intact. In addition, they carried out research on a child (for which a whole extra section of ethical guidelines exists). However, this child is now known to have been ill from the outset and they caused additional emotional harm that was never able to be erased. This highlights the abuse of a position of power, and the very fact that researchers now are able to narrow down the true identity of Little Albert brings into question the details that were added to their original report. This unfortunately true not-so-fairy-tale is an example of why we need an ethical framework when designing research. In some ways now, it feels like second nature; it’s surely logical to treat others with respect? Sadly these guidelines were unable to help Little Albert, but because of him and others like him, we have learnt and listened. His sad demise will serve to protect those that come after him. Read the other blogs in this series Why investigate? Part 1 Why investigate? Part 2: Where do facts come from (mummy)? Who should investigate? Part 3 Human factors – the scientific study of man in her built environment. Part 4 When to investigate? Part 5. How or Why. Part 6 Why investigate? Part 7 – The questions and answers Why investigate? Part 8 – Why an ‘It’s an error trap conclusion’ is an error trap Why investigate? Part 9 – Making wrong decisions when we think they are the right decisions Why investigate? Part 10. Fatigue – Enter the Sandman Why investigate? Part 11: We have a situation