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A study on how mental health practitioners address ethical issues in clinical audit

By R. J. Ashmore

Abstract

<p>Although much debate has taken place within the literature on the differences between research and clinical audit, the ethical dimensions of audit have frequently been neglected. Furthermore, no research has of yet explored what ethical issues auditors consider in relation to their projects or how they manage them in practice. Using data collected from audit documentation, semi-structured interviews and a researcher-administered questionnaire, this study sought to advance this position by exploring how 14 clinicians undertook audits in one mental health Trust addressed the ethical dimensions of their project. Analysis of the data revealed that the Trust had no formal mechanisms for reviewing and monitoring audit projects whilst other informal mechanisms were not utilized by all auditors. A number of projects had contact with both clinicians and service users through interviews, focus groups and questionnaires; however, issues such as informed consent, confidentiality and anonymity were not adequately addressed by auditors. The implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations for practice outlined.</p

Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:shura.shu.ac.uk:248
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