Headlines: March 16th, 2006

A new journal is launched today to bring issues of medical ethics to practitioners and service users. “Clinical Ethics” will be produced quarterly by the Royal Society of Medicine, which hopes the new publication will be of use everyday in the workplace.The journal will cover ethical issues as they relate to health care delivery, research and policy and the RSM wants it to provide a forum for cross-disciplinary research and debate on relevant contemporary matters. Its emphasis will be on how ethics are, and should be, applied in clinical practice. It will be published quarterly with the first edition being available free online at www.clinicalethics.co.uk as a sample.

The Royal Society’s Acting Executive Director, Peter Richardson, said the journal would fill an important gap. “There is growing interest in ethics and its implementation, particularly in hospital settings. However, there is also a lack of understanding about how this can be applied in day-to-day clinical practice,” he said, adding that the new journal would set out to clarify many of the issues faced by health professionals. “For example, by using case studies of real life situations they are likely to encounter, the journal will be of real and practical use in their work,” he said.

The new publication’s editors are Bobbie Farsides and Sue Eckstein who believe the launch is timely because of the increasing professional focus on ethics especially in clinical settings. They say a typical issue will include a case study section, edited by Dr Heather Draper of Birmingham University Medical School and a Five Minute Focus, edited by Dr Anne Slowther of Warwick University Medical School that will present complex ethical issues in a concise way. In the first edition, for example, it looks at ‘Do Not Attempt Resuscitation’ orders. Other sections will cover public law and policy and empirical ethics as well as peer reviewed articles on challenging issues.