The BMA (British Medical Association) is the professional organisation representing doctors in all branches of medicine in the UK. The Ethics section of its site (to be found via the “Employment and career advice” tab) has various BMA reports, guidelines, discussion papers and other publications concerning medical law and ethics.
The BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) is an editorially independent journal published weekly by a subsidiary of the British Medical Association (BMA). Its web site provides abstracts and full text of all articles since publication began (1840), searchable by author, word(s) in title or abstract, or word(s) anywhere in article. Not all content is free: access to some material, particularly the more recent, is restricted to subscribers.
An Inquiry Panel, chaired by Professor Ian Kennedy, was appointed in June 1998 to inquire into children’s heart surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary from 1984 to 1985. Information and documentation on the site, now archived by the National Archives, includes evidence, the interim report of May 2000, and the final report published July 2001.
The freely accessible areas of the Society’s site (there is also a separate area for members only) provide information on the role of coroners and their history, plus a database of local coroners’ offices, with names, addresses and other contact details, which is searchable both by county and by jurisdiction (district).
The Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of London was established in 2006 to develop and maintain good practice in forensic and legal medicine. It provides information, advice and guidance on various medico-legal matters. It acquired the assets of the defunct Association of Forensic Physicians (formerly the Association of Police Surgeons), and documents in the site’s Publications section include many originally issued by the AFP and the APS.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was created in 1991, under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, to regulate safe and appropriate practice in fertility treatment and human embryo research. Its Code of Practice, Directions and other guidance documents are to be found in the section “For Clinic Staff and Other Professionals”. Documents elsewhere include annual reports, research reports, news items and press releases.
The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) was set up under the Human Tissue Act 2004 to regulate the removal, storage, use and disposal of human bodies, organs and tissue from the living and deceased. Site content includes a section devoted to legislation, policies and codes of practice, with links to the Human Tissue Act 2004 and regulations made under it, and to the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006. Publications include annual reports, leaflets, and a regular e-newsletter.
Following the death of Cyril Isaacs on 26 February 1987, and a post mortem examination at Prestwich Hospital mortuary the following day, Mr Isaacs’s brain was retained for research at Manchester University without the knowledge of his relatives. The full text of the report (published 12 May 2003) of the investigation into these events, which was carried out by HM Inspector of Anatomy, Dr Jeremy S. Metters, is available here within the UK Government Web Archive.
The Lancet is an authoritative independent general medical journal, published weekly. Much of the content of its web site is accessible only by subscribers, but there is also a free registration facility which permits access to all article abstracts and to selected full-text articles and news items. Site coverage extends also to its associated specialty journals.
This online resource for medical negligence law and related subjects was founded (originally as Medical Litigation Online) by the late Geoffrey Hall, a barrister, in 1998. Several sections, including databases of over 2000 cases and over 240 articles, are available only to subscribers. The News section (January 1999 onwards) can be viewed for free, but note that no further content has been added to any part of the site since July 2014.
This site, published by Law Brief Publishing, provides free medico-legal information and advice within civil, employment and criminal litigation. Content is updated daily, and archives extend back to October 2010.
The Society’s aim is to promote all aspects of medico-legal knowledge, principally through holding meetings and publishing the quarterly Medico-Legal Journal. The journal itself is not available online to non-subscribers, but there is a downloadable index of articles from volume 1 (1904) of its precursor, Transactions of the Medico-Legal Society, to volume 64 (1996).
The Chief Coroner is head of the coroner system in England and Wales. The post forms part of a new coroner regime, created by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which came into force on 25 July 2013. This section of the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary web site contains information about the role of the Chief Coroner, legislation (including statutory instruments), series of guidance documents and of “Law Sheets”, and annual reports. There is also a section under development which will contain all Reports to Prevent Future Deaths (PFD Reports, formerly known as Rule 43 Reports) made since 25 July 2013.
An inquiry into human tissue analysis in UK nuclear facilities was announced by the government on 18 April 2007 and conducted by Michael Redfern QC. Documents on the inquiry’s site, now archived by the National Archives, include terms of reference and the final report, which was delivered to Parliament on 16 November 2010. The report is also available on the GOV.UK web site.
An Inquiry Panel, chaired by Michael Redfern QC, was appointed in December 1999 to investigate the removal, retention and disposal of human organs and tissues following post mortem examination at the Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital (Alder Hey Children’s Hospital). Both the Summary and Recommendations and the full report of the Inquiry, published in January 2001, may be downloaded either from the GOV.UK web site or from this web page in the UK Government Web Archive.
Harold Shipman, a former doctor, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 for the murder of fifteen of his patients, and died in prison 13 January 2004. Following allegations that he may have murdered many more, a public inquiry was set up under the chairmanship of Dame Janet Smith DBE. The inquiry web site, now archived by the National Archives, provides full documentation including the six reports published between July 2002 and January 2005.