Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

A rose by any other name...

I sit on a research ethics committee, which for the most part is a fascinating experience. It is always interesting to see what research people want to do, and satisfying when we can help it become more ethical.

However, sometimes I really despair about the way ethics committees are managed. Today, I have received a letter from NRES, asking me to take part in a consultation. Is this consultation about important ethical issues in clinical research?


Believe it or not, I am being asked to consider what term should be used to refer to ethics committee members in official documentation. Seriously. I'm not making this up. We are being given the choice of "NRES independent committee members", "NRES volunteer committee members", or "NRES committee members". Why would anyone think that this matters? More to the point, why would anyone actually spend public money on worrying about it? Have NRES not noticed that public money is a bit short at the moment?

But it gets worse. In the same letter, I am being asked to comment on the NRES mission statement.

Our government are currently looking for ways to save money. Perhaps NRES would be a good place to start, if they have so much time on their hands they can apparently afford to worry about such trivialities.

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