17 September 2009
ByAppeared in BioNews 526
Following a three month online public consultation process, which began in late 2008, the UK's Human Tissue Authority (HTA) has this week announced the release of seven revised codes of practice relating to consent, transplantation, post-mortem examination, donation of bone marrow and peripheral stem cells, anatomical examination, disposal and public display. The online consultation received 179 responses from individuals and key organisations and was supplemented by a series of workshops attended by delegates from sectors regulated by the HTA. The HTA's chief executive, Adrian McNeil, said, 'we have consulted widely with those we regulate and used their comments to improve the codes', adding: 'I am very pleased that the findings of a recent review by the Better Regulation Executive found that our stakeholders were complimentary about the codes of practice and particularly about the high levels of consultation during their development'.
The codes are effective as of 15thSeptember and make up a total of nine codes now issued by the HTA. The aim of the codes is to provide guidance and to set standards for each of the authority's regulated sectors, and to provide support and advice to health professionals. Their content reflects the vast experience that the HTA has gained over the last three years of its role in regulation and provides guidance based upon real-life experiences. In addition, a code has been produced for the storage of human tissue for research purposes. Mr McNeil explained: 'The HTA has been regulating the use of human tissue for three years. We have rewritten our existing codes of practice, and created a new code for research, on the basis of our experience, and the learning and feedback we have received from stakeholders'. The codes, together with links to other relevant documentation, are available to the public via the HTA website.