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Professor Penney Lewis appointed to the Human Tissue Authority

Posted on 24/03/2016

Professor Penney Lewis, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London.Professor Penney Lewis of The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London has today been appointed as an Authority Member to the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) by the Secretary of State for Health.

The role will see Professor Lewis join four other new Authority Members,  who will advise and shape the HTA’s strategy, maintain oversight and assessment of complicated living transplant cases and hold the Executive to account. The Authority is accountable to the Department of Health and Parliament for the activities and performance of the HTA. The other new Members appointed are: Dr Stuart Dollow; Professor Dame Sally Macintyre; The Rt Revd Graham Usher and Dr Lorna Williamson.

The HTA is the regulator for human tissue and organs and was created by Parliament as a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department of Health following inquiries which uncovered a culture in hospitals of removing and retaining human organs and tissues without consent. The HTA’s remit is to regulate organisations that remove, store and use human tissue for research, medical treatment, post-mortem examination, education and training, and public display. The HTA works to ensure that human tissue and organs are used safely, ethically, and with proper consent.

Professor Lewis is Co-Director of the Centre of Medical Law & Ethics at King’s and has published on a wide range of medical law topics, including advance decision-making, refusal of treatment, assisted dying, medical treatment of children and medical procedures which are against the interests of adults lacking capacity. She teaches Medical Law and Law at the End of Life to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Professor Lewis’s knowledge of the legal and ethical issues surrounding organ donation and transplantation, end of life decision-making, and clinical research has been augmented by work as a member of the UK Donation Ethics Committee and the St Christopher’s Hospice Clinical Ethics Committee, and as Vice-Chair of the King’s College London Research Ethics Committee. Professor Lewis was a member of a small expert group which recently published recommendations on the ethical, legal and psychosocial aspects of organ donation after circulatory death (DCD) as part of a joint effort of the European Society of Organ Transplantation and a group of European Competent Authorities including NHS Blood and Transplant. She is also an invited member of the Working Group on Deceased Donation of the European Platform on Ethical, Legal and Psychosocial Aspects of Organ Transplantation (ELPAT).

Of her new role, Professor Lewis said: ‘I am very much looking forward to the challenge of contributing to the important work of the Human Tissue Authority. My committee work in the fields of research ethics, clinical ethics at the end of life, and donation ethics has given me the opportunity to collaborate with committee members from a wide range of stakeholders and with varied experience and expertise. This has provided invaluable context, and an appreciation of the complexity involved in both individual cases and policy and guidance formulation. I am eager to use this experience to participate in ensuring the effective and successful governance of the HTA.’

Sharmila Nebhrajani OBE, Chair of the HTA, welcomed the new appointments saying:

'I am delighted to be welcoming our five new authority members to the HTA Board. They are each outstanding technical experts in their fields from pathology and bio-ethics to commercial biotech and public health research. This, combined with their wisdom and general experience, will be an enormous help to the HTA as it continues its important and sensitive work.'

Notes to editors 

For further media information please contact Claire Gilby, PR Manager (Arts & Sciences), on 020 7848 3092 or email claire.gilby@kcl.ac.uk.

For more information about King's please visit the 'King's in Brief' webpages. 

Further information about the Authority can be found on the HTA website

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