NHS research plea

June 15, 2007

As someone who has recently gained permission to conduct his MRes dissertation research in two departments of a local hospital, I agree with the recent articles highlighting the obstacles researchers face when planning to do research in and around the National Health Service. It is also worth noting that such governance procedures may not only discourage the social scientific researcher from conducting such research but may not promote ethical research.

While the US concluded years ago that ethical considerations in social scientific research ought to be governed by the same model as medical research, Denmark concluded the opposite. If the NHS is to review its procedures for the governance of research, it may be worth those in the social scientific community working together to promote the view that the ethics of such research ought to be considered as qualitatively different from that of biomedical research and be governed by specifically designed procedures.

Nathan Emmerich
Queen's University Belfast

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