Tuesday, August 08, 2006

There's Informed Consent and There's Too Much Information

Seems like Britain's NHS has swung the pendulum too far in the direction of the latter. To wit:
In 2004 the BMJ produced a special issue listing ethics committee horror stories, including a 64-page form which took 40 hours to fill in. The journal concluded that ethics committees had "swung out of control".

I'm a firm believer in the importance of truly informed and valid consent. But if that's what the NHS is inflicting upon potential research participants I have no doubt that ongoing and prospective studies are being held up due to a lack of volunteers. Furthermore, I have to sincerely question the validity of any consent that comes after a 40 hour session of paperwork.

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