Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

ethical review and ethical behaviour

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 24 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:473
  1. John McMillan (, senior lecturer in medical ethics1,
  2. Mark Sheehan, lecturer2
  1. 1 Hull York Medical School, Department of Philosophy, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX,
  2. 2 Centre for Professional Ethics, Keele University, Keele ST5 5NA
  1. Correspondence to: J McMillan

    Wade's main concern is that the distinction between audit and research is arbitrary and often means that attention is not paid to what is really ethically important in many aspects of medicine.1 We agree that the distinction between audit and research is difficult to sustain. He is right to insist that the features specific to proposed research or audit are what determine it's ethical importance and whether it should be scrutinised. Whether a proposal is audit or research does not and cannot affect its ethical importance.

    That said, the intuitive distinction …

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