Objectives: To investigate whether patient opinion about the uses of tissue removed at therapeutic operations has changed since the adverse publicity surrounding the Alder Hey and Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiries, and to see whether it aligns with the Human Tissue Act 2004.
Design and Setting: Self-administered questionnaire study to post-operative patients in a teaching hospital.
Participants: Two hundred and twenty post-operative patients during an 11 week period.
Main outcome measures: Aggregated responses to each question ranked in frequency order. Unweighted centroid linkage hierarchical clustering analysis with dendrogram display for the main data on tissue usage.
Results: Two hundred and three completed questionnaires were collected representing a compliance rate of 92.3%. 96.3% of patients indicated that they would not object to their tissue being used in research, significantly higher than in the 1996 study (89.1%) with no overlap of the 95% confidence intervals. 29.1% of patients believed that the hospital had ownership of tissue once it has been removed during surgery, 23.2% believed they had ownership, 19.7% that the pathology laboratory had ownership, 15.3% believed that nobody had ownership rights in the case of tissue samples.
Conclusions: This new survey indicates that despite a turbulent decade for those involved in human tissue retention in the UK, public support for a wide range of human tissue based activities, especially biomedical research, has not diminished and that patient opinion aligns well with the Human Tissue Act 2004.
- human tissue
- patient opinion
- public opinion