Events announcement: Two talks by Jonathan Montgomery


The Centre for Biomedical Ethics is pleased to be hosting Professor Jonathan Montgomery (University College London) for two topical ethics talks next week.  The first talk is on confidentiality in patient data, and the second concerns the ethics of CRISPR research.  Details of each talk and links to registration are below the fold.  We hope to see you there!

Developments in Confidentiality & Use of Patient Data in the National Health Service – Implications for Singapore

Speaker: Prof Jonathan Montgomery
Date:   Tuesday, 5 April 2016
Time:  12.00pm to 12.45pm (Lunch)
12.45pm to 1.45pm (Talk)
Venue: Tahir Foundation Building
National University of Singapore
12 Science Drive 2, Level 3 Room 03-01B

The potential for analysis of biodata to improve the quality of care, open up new avenues of research, and enhance existing research methods by narrowing the gap between controlled studies and real-world usage is exciting. The United Kingdom has seen its socialised medicine system as a major opportunity to explore the use of health data, but has found it difficult to win public confidence in the project.  Amongst the reasons for this are a suspicion of private sector involvement and fear about data security.  Enthusiasts have also failed to take the medical profession with them, leaving the public unpersuaded of the case for using their health records for purposes beyond direct care. The issues have been addressed by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which has proposed that repurposing health data for uses beyond clinical care requires a case to be made to the public of why this is morally acceptable together with governance frameworks to oversee uses. The model of consent or anonymise is no longer sufficient. Other UK initiatives include new guidance from the General Medical Council and plans to enhance the public’s right to opt out of the use of NHS health data beyond personal care. There are many lessons to be drawn from these experiences and it is possible that information services could provide a transnational opportunity if the public prefers to manage its own health data rather than rely on domestic health systems.

The talk is free and open, but registration is required. See here for directions to the venue.


Ethical Challenges in CRISPR Research

Speaker: Prof Jonathan Montgomery
Date:   Friday, 8 April 2016
Time:  12.00pm to 12.45pm (Lunch)
12.45pm to 1.45pm (Talk)
Venue: NUS Medical School, Block MD6
14 Medical Drive, 01-02
The explosion of interest in human gene editing that has followed the publication of successes in technological advances has called into question the moral validity of established distinction between germline and somatic interventions and re-ignited discussions about the precautionary principle and the ethics of enhancement. The proliferation of public statements demonstrates both the interest in a global approach and also the challenges of achieving consensus. While the World needs to co-ordinate its efforts to address the ethical challenges, the difficulties in doing so are all too apparent. For some, there is little new and the technologies are merely more efficient ways to pursue long accepted aims. For others, they introduce a newly fabricated world. The technology may initially have more practical applications outside of the human genome than within it and the current debate may be unduly anthropocentric. It is hard to be confident where it is best to start thinking about the ethical issues. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has invited comments on what is at stake as the initial phase of a programme of work that seeks to map the issues of concern, and establish a tentative framework for consideration them. This will serve as a preliminary to detailed case studies on the technology in application.  The shape of the questions is becoming apparent, but the answers remain unclear.

The talk is free and open, but registration is required.  See here for directions to the venue.

About Jonathan Montgomery

Jonathan Montgomery is Professor of Health Care Law at University College London. He has published widely in the field of health care law. His editorships include Medical Professions in Halsbury’s Laws of England (5th ed Vol 30(1), 2011) and the Butterworths Family Law Service (1996-). Current public service roles include chairing the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (the UK’s national bioethics committee), and the Health Research Authority (which oversees research ethics committees for England). He chaired the UK’s Human Genetics Commission from 2009-2012 and was a panel member on the Morecambe Bay Investigation into maternal and neonatal deaths (2013-5). He was a member of a local NHS research ethics committee from 1992-99 (two years as chair). Between 1998 and 2013 he served as chair of a number of NHS organisations in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, including providers, commissioners and a Strategic Health Authority.


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