Thursday 3 November 2016

Nicola Smithers

A legal expert from the University of Northampton will be helping two major organisations with their work in the field of neonatal and paediatric care.

Nicola Smithers, who is a Senior Lecturer in Law, is currently carrying out a PhD research project examining the economic, social and ethical justifications for withholding treatment from disabled infants.

Her work caught the attention of the Children’s Healthcare Ethics and Law Speciality Interest Group (CHELSIG), which led to Nicola accepting an invitation to become a member of the group.

Nicola has also been enlisted by infant health charity, Bliss, to review the applications it receives for research support.

“I’m privileged to have been chosen by CHELSIG to work alongside other professionals who are making enormous contributions to the field of neonatal and paediatric healthcare ethics,” said Nicola, who graduated with a degree in Law from the University in 2004.

“This opportunity enriches my professional development in this area and provides support to my doctoral research which looks at the legal and ethical justifications for withdrawing treatment from critically ill babies.

“My work with Bliss, which also formally supports my research, is of great importance to me. It is a charity that’s close to my heart, so being able to support it and the important work it does in my new role is something I am really looking forward to.”

CHELSIG is an independent, membership based, organisation closely allied to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Ethics and Law Advisory Committee. It is a multidisciplinary professionals group seeking to explore ethical and legal issues affecting children and their healthcare.

Group members discuss topics of interest, undertake and guide academic work in the area, become a resource for other bodies wanting the expertise of child health professionals in ethics and law. Members also work with the The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s Ethics and Law Advisory Committee (ELAC).

UK charity Bliss works to provide the best possible care and support for all premature and sick babies and their families.

The main function of Nicola’s role with Bliss will be to review the applications it receives to support research, or any other large commitment being asked of Bliss, which wants to improve its governance in this area of work.

She will look at the suitability of a project, ensuring it is in line with Bliss’ aims and comment on the level of involvement being asked of Bliss and highlight any other considerations it should be aware of before getting involved.

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