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Participation in multiple neonatal research studies
  1. M Ward Platt
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr M P Ward Platt
    Ward 35, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK;

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Doctors and members of ethics committees need guidance that is underpinned by sound evidence on parental attitudes to research

In recent years, the journal has carried several papers on parental consent (assent) for participation of their babies in clinical trials.1,2 This is important because Archives is read by many of those who organise neonatal research projects. The approach to parents is often fraught with ethical dilemmas.

Clinicians and members of ethics committees alike need guidance that is underpinned by sound research evidence on parental attitudes and beliefs about participating in research, rather than well meant assumptions about how parents might feel. Readers of the Journal of Medical Ethics would find little of direct use when confronted by the clinical realities and research questions of neonatal care—although this journal once published a neonatal study on the variability of ethics committee views. Rather, it is …

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  • Competing interests: none declared