Simon Woods
Journal of Paramedic Practice, Vol. 8, Iss. 10, 17 Oct 2016, pp 499 - 505

There is an increasing number of research projects conducted that requires
the recruitment of participants in the pre-hospital or emergency setting.
Acomplicating factor in pre-hospital and emergency research (PHER) is that
potential participants may lack or lose the capacity to give a valid consent.
The lack or loss of capacity is ethically and legally complex for researchers and
Research Ethics Committees (REC) whose approval must be gained prior to
commencing a study. This paper explores those challenges by drawing upon
a number of case studies of pre-hospital research in which adult participants
are likely to lack the capacity to consent. The paper begins by outlining the
development of the legal provisions for conducting research with participants
unable to consent for themselves within the jurisdictions of England and Wales.
The paper goes on to explore how researchers can meet the legal requirement
for research, how to frame the issues for the purposes of ethical review, as well
as offering ethical guidance for practices within the research field.

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