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Recruiting ethical expertise: the roles of lay and expert members in NHS Research Ethics Committees

Hapeshi, Julie 2014. Recruiting ethical expertise: the roles of lay and expert members in NHS Research Ethics Committees. DHS Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Drawing on the classification of expertise developed by Collins and Evans, this study explores the expertises held by members of NHS Research Ethics Committees (RECs) and how they differ from the ones described by the regulations. The study used Q methodology followed by ten semi-structured interviews with Lay and Expert REC members. The results show that committee members see themselves as part of a team, with individual members making different contributions to a collective task. Viewing REC members in this way allows their different expertises to be formally recognised and leads to the creation of two new membership categories, specialist and generalist, based on these expertises. Specialists have expertises such as statistics and pharmacy that are required by the current legislation and which would be present on recruitment. Generalists possess the other expertises needed by the committee but which not required by statute. These include the clinical expertises possessed by healthcare professionals and the other professional expertises – legal, academic, IT and so on – that are typically found amongst those currently classed as Lay members. All REC members, be they specialist or generalist, would also be trained in the ethical and regulatory expertises required to deliver an ethical review. Emphasising how all REC members, whether specialist or generalise, have expertises that contribute to the ethical review enables recruitment activities to focus on the skills needed by the committee rather than current concerns with population demographics. This provides a solution to many of the recruitment issues identified by participants. In particular, it enables the replacement of skills on a ‘like for like’ basis using clearly defined person specifications. Not only would such a process comply with the Nolan principles it be more likely to maintain the integrity and function of the committee regardless of personnel changes.

Item Type: Thesis (DHS)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2019 12:50

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