The development and function of Clinical Ethics Committees (CECs) in the United Kingdom
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In the UK an increasing number of Clinical Ethics Committees (CECs) have been developed mainly in response to local need and interest. Their functions include education of health professionals, of policy and guideline development, and case review (both retrospective analysis of topics and advice on acute cases). The UK Clinical Ethics Network, a charitable foundation provides CEC s with help, support and advice and enables them to share their experience The legal status of UK CECs is unclear but some legal commentators have suggested that CECs lack competencies and procedural rules necessary for acute case review. The UKCEN has proposed core competencies for CECs that lists the ethical, operational and procedural skills, knowledge and personal attributes required and how they may be acquired, assessed and maintained. Their implementation might lead to the development of ethical and legal governance which should benefit to future patient care.
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