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Ethics committee review of medical audit: a personal view from the United Kingdom
  1. Thomas S Low-Beer1
  1. 1Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6RB
  1. t.s.low-beer{at}

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If medical research proposals are subject to ethics committee scrutiny, should the same not apply to the process of clinical audit, which, it can be argued, is no more than another kind of potentially intrusive form of clinical investigation?

Dr Martin Talbot tries to tackle the question by first discussing how different clinical audit is from medical research, concluding that “research is finding out how one should be doing something”—clearly not an adequate definition of research, whereas “audit ensures that it is done correctly.” He then continues with a philosophical digression on the nature of knowledge, in which he demonstrates his sympathy with a …

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