§ Miss Widdecombe
[holding answer 7 March 1996]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Alastair Papps to Mr. Harry Cohen, dated 19 March 1996:
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about controls on medical staff who are engaged in medical research.
I understand that there are no medical staff employed on medical research in the main Home Office.
Within the Prison Service all medical and health care research requires ethical approval, the consent of the governor of the prison and the free and informed consent of the prisoner concerned.
Such ethical approval is obtained either from the Prison Service Health Research Ethics Committee, which has an independent chairman and membership drawn from the independent Health Advisory Committee to the Prison Service and health care professionals from outside the Prison Service or the appropriate NHS committee.