School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Cluster randomisation or randomised consent as an appropriate methodology for trials in palliative care: a feasibility study [ISRCTN60243484].
    Fowell, A ; Russell, I ; Johnstone, R ; Finlay, I ; Russell, D (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2004-04-27)
    BACKGROUND: Although guidelines for the care of the dying patient exist the evidence base to support the guidelines is poor. Some of the factors contributing to this include failure to recruit to trials, protective healthcare professionals and subsequent attrition from trials due to the death of the patients. Recent studies report favourably on the use of cluster randomisation as an appropriate methodology for use in this patient group. METHODS/DESIGN: A feasibility study, exploring two types of randomisation as appropriate methodology for trials involving dying patients. Cluster randomisation and randomised consent will be utilised following a crossover design at two sites, one oncology ward and one Macmillan unit within the Northwest Wales NHS Trust. All patients commencing on the Integrated Care Pathway (ICP) for the Last Days of Life will be eligible for inclusion in the study. Using the hypothesis that it is not necessary to prescribe an anti-emetic medication when setting up a syringe driver for the dying patient, the study will evaluate different models of research methodology. DISCUSSION: The identification of the most appropriate methodology for use in studies concerning this patient group will inform the development of future clinical studies. Furthermore, the outcomes of this feasibility study will inform the development, of a proposal seeking funding for Wales-wide trials in palliative care. The identification of an appropriate methodology will provide a starting point for the establishment of a robust evidence base for the care of the dying patient.
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    Health biotechnology in China -: reawakening of a giant
    Li, ZZ ; Zhang, JC ; Wen, K ; Thorsteinsdóttir, H ; Quach, U ; Singer, PA ; Daar, AS (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2004-12)
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    Conclusions:: promoting biotechnology innovation in developing countries
    Thorsteinsdóttir, H ; Quach, U ; Daar, AS ; Singer, PA (NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2004-12)
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    Interdisciplinary research: putting the methods under the microscope.
    Robertson, DW ; Martin, DK ; Singer, PA (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2003-10-19)
    BACKGROUND: While the desirability of interdisciplinary inquiry has been widely acknowledged, indeed has become 'the mantra of science policy', the methods of interdisciplinary collaboration are opaque to outsiders and generally remain undescribed. DISCUSSION: Many have analysed interdisciplinarity, especially in relation to the creation of new disciplines and institutions. These analyses are briefly outlined. Still, there currently persists a silence about the methods of interdisciplinary collaboration itself, and the core of this paper proposes a template for such methods. SUMMARY: Breaking this silence--by making the methods of interdisciplinary projects transparent--could further invigorate interdisciplinary research.
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    1980-2005: bioethics then and now.
    Singer, P ; Kuhse, H (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2006-01)
    In this article we examine the role and ethics of communications in planning for an influenza pandemic. We argue that ethical communication must not only he effective, so that pandemic plans can be successfully implemented, communications should also take specific account of the needs of the disadvantaged, so that they are not further disenfranchised. This will require particular attention to the role of the mainstream media which may disadvantage the vulnerable through misrepresentation and exclusion.
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    Regenerative medicine and the developing world
    Greenwood, HL ; Singer, PA ; Downey, GP ; Martin, DK ; Thorsteinsdottir, H ; Daar, AS (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2006-09)
    This is the first study to systematically identify and prioritize which applications of regenerative medicine are the most promising for improving health in developing countries.
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    Strengthening the role of genomics in global health
    Acharya, T ; Daar, AS ; Thorsteinsdóttir, H ; Dowdeswell, E ; Singer, PA (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2004-12)
    How genomics and related health biotechnologies can improve the health of the poor and contribute towards meeting the Millenium Development Goals
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    Harnessing genomics to improve health in the Eastern Mediterranean Region - an executive course in genomics policy.
    Acharya, T ; Rab, MA ; Singer, PA ; Daar, AS (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2005-01-21)
    BACKGROUND: While innovations in medicine, science and technology have resulted in improved health and quality of life for many people, the benefits of modern medicine continue to elude millions of people in many parts of the world. To assess the potential of genomics to address health needs in EMR, the World Health Organization's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office and the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics jointly organized a Genomics and Public Health Policy Executive Course, held September 20th-23rd, 2003, in Muscat, Oman. The 4-day course was sponsored by WHO-EMRO with additional support from the Canadian Program in Genomics and Global Health. The overall objective of the course was to collectively explore how to best harness genomics to improve health in the region. This article presents the course findings and recommendations for genomics policy in EMR. METHODS: The course brought together senior representatives from academia, biotechnology companies, regulatory bodies, media, voluntary, and legal organizations to engage in discussion. Topics covered included scientific advances in genomics, followed by innovations in business models, public sector perspectives, ethics, legal issues and national innovation systems. RESULTS: A set of recommendations, summarized below, was formulated for the Regional Office, the Member States and for individuals.* Advocacy for genomics and biotechnology for political leadership;* Networking between member states to share information, expertise, training, and regional cooperation in biotechnology; coordination of national surveys for assessment of health biotechnology innovation systems, science capacity, government policies, legislation and regulations, intellectual property policies, private sector activity;* Creation in each member country of an effective National Body on genomics, biotechnology and health to:- formulate national biotechnology strategies- raise biotechnology awareness- encourage teaching and training of biotechnology- devise integration of biotechnology within national health systems. CONCLUSION: The recommendations provide the basis for a road map for EMR to take steps to harness biotechnology for better and more equitable health. As a result of these recommendations, health ministers from the region, at the 50th Regional Committee Meeting held in October 2003, have urged Member States to establish national bodies of biotechnology to formulate a strategic vision for developing biotechnology in the service of the region's health. These efforts promise to raise the profile of genomics in EMR and increase regional cooperation in this exciting new field.
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    Just regionalisation: rehabilitating care for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.
    Secker, B ; Goldenberg, MJ ; Gibson, BE ; Wagner, F ; Parke, B ; Breslin, J ; Thompson, A ; Lear, JR ; Singer, PA (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2006-08-29)
    BACKGROUND: Regionalised models of health care delivery have important implications for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses yet the ethical issues surrounding disability and regionalisation have not yet been explored. Although there is ethics-related research into disability and chronic illness, studies of regionalisation experiences, and research directed at improving health systems for these patient populations, to our knowledge these streams of research have not been brought together. Using the Canadian province of Ontario as a case study, we address this gap by examining the ethics of regionalisation and the implications for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. The critical success factors we provide have broad applicability for guiding and/or evaluating new and existing regionalised health care strategies. DISCUSSION: Ontario is in the process of implementing fourteen Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). The implementation of the LHINs provides a rare opportunity to address systematically the unmet diverse care needs of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. The core of this paper provides a series of composite case vignettes illustrating integration opportunities relevant to these populations, namely: (i) rehabilitation and services for people with disabilities; (ii) chronic illness and cancer care; (iii) senior's health; (iv) community support services; (v) children's health; (vi) health promotion; and (vii) mental health and addiction services. For each vignette, we interpret the governing principles developed by the LHINs - equitable access based on patient need, preserving patient choice, responsiveness to local population health needs, shared accountability and patient-centred care - and describe how they apply. We then offer critical success factors to guide the LHINs in upholding these principles in response to the needs of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. SUMMARY: This paper aims to bridge an important gap in the literature by examining the ethics of a new regionalisation strategy with a focus on the implications for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses across multiple sites of care. While Ontario is used as a case study to contextualize our discussion, the issues we identify, the ethical principles we apply, and the critical success factors we provide have broader applicability for guiding and evaluating the development of - or revisions to - a regionalised health care strategy.
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    What do hospital decision-makers in Ontario, Canada, have to say about the fairness of priority setting in their institutions?
    Reeleder, D ; Martin, DK ; Keresztes, C ; Singer, PA (BMC, 2005-01-21)
    BACKGROUND: Priority setting, also known as rationing or resource allocation, occurs at all levels of every health care system. Daniels and Sabin have proposed a framework for priority setting in health care institutions called 'accountability for reasonableness', which links priority setting to theories of democratic deliberation. Fairness is a key goal of priority setting. According to 'accountability for reasonableness', health care institutions engaged in priority setting have a claim to fairness if they satisfy four conditions of relevance, publicity, appeals/revision, and enforcement. This is the first study which has surveyed the views of hospital decision makers throughout an entire health system about the fairness of priority setting in their institutions. The purpose of this study is to elicit hospital decision-makers' self-report of the fairness of priority setting in their hospitals using an explicit conceptual framework, 'accountability for reasonableness'. METHODS: 160 Ontario hospital Chief Executive Officers, or their designates, were asked to complete a survey questionnaire concerning priority setting in their publicly funded institutions. Eight-six Ontario hospitals completed this survey, for a response rate of 54%. Six close-ended rating scale questions (e.g. Overall, how fair is priority setting at your hospital?), and 3 open-ended questions (e.g. What do you see as the goal(s) of priority setting in your hospital?) were used. RESULTS: Overall, 60.7% of respondents indicated their hospitals' priority setting was fair. With respect to the 'accountability for reasonableness' conditions, respondents indicated their hospitals performed best for the relevance (75.0%) condition, followed by appeals/revision (56.6%), publicity (56.0%), and enforcement (39.5%). CONCLUSIONS: For the first time hospital Chief Executive Officers within an entire health system were surveyed about the fairness of priority setting practices in their institutions using the conceptual framework 'accountability for reasonableness'. Although many hospital CEOs felt that their priority setting was fair, ample room for improvement was noted, especially for the enforcement condition.