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The University of Southampton
Clinical Ethics and Law at Southampton

CELS response to COVID-19 pandemic

The CELS team has recently redirected some of its ongoing research to COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) related work. We are interested in the ethical issues that were anticipated at the start of the pandemic – how these were debated and responded to by, for example, professional guidance and academic discourse, but also in the longer-term consequences of the pandemic on society.

As key members of the Southampton University Hospital NHS Trust, Clinical Ethics Committee, we developed training sessions and a training document for the committee to help consider pandemic specific ethical issues. This document was first drafted by Peta Coulson-Smith, Anneke Lucassen and Angela Fenwick in the early days of the pandemic when the plethora of national and professional body guidance relating to the pandemic was not yet available. The document has since evolved to incorporate the ethical issues that have been brought to the Clinical Ethics Committee and emerged as important for clinicians working through the pandemic (coming soon). If you are accessing this page on the UHS network you can view the Clinical Ethics Committee website here. 

Peta Coulson Smith is analysing some of the key themes that come out of ethics guidance as part of her research into ethical preparedness in clinical decision making. Some neighbouring hospitals that had no extant clinical ethics support have turned to the CELS team for help in setting these up and for training in ethics and ethics support.

Anneke Lucassen has been involved in guideline development as a council member of:-

Kate Lyle, Lisa Ballard and Anneke Lucassen are organising an IFLS sponsored symposium to explore the ethical, societal and legal challenges of working with large volumes of personal data, and will explore how attitudes towards data are shaped in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secret Life of Immortal Data symposium will be held on 7th July 2020.  

A further CELS response to the pandemic has been to explore public’s, health researcher’s and data scientist’s views regarding the use, storage and security of routinely collected health data during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Anneke LucassenLisa Ballard and Natalia Laverty have designed this Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) project to explore views towards data sharing in this new context, as well as views on more practical measures to emerge from the current crisis. Web-based focus group discussions will be held, and the data will be used to develop a strategic approach for anticipating, managing and preventing future problems.



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