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Issue 468, 4 June 2001

In the news

Professor Philip Quirke from St James’s University Hospital featured in a debate on BBC 2’s Newsnight on the use of human tissue samples for research purposes. Discussing the issue of consent to the use of human tissue samples, Professor Quirke, head of the academic unit of pathology at Leeds, said it was also important to highlight the incredible life-saving information that can be found in samples of tissue which are vital in charting the source and progress of diseases such as cancer.

Professor of Clinical Nursing, Claire Hale took part in a debate on Sky News regarding the state of the NHS. Asked if low morale amongst nurses was due to low pay, or from having to endure endless criticism from the government, Professor Claire Hale replied: "Both. When you are working so hard, doing your best yet constantly told you are not doing a good job, morale is bound to be low, especially when there is no time for staff development. Also salaries at grade D and E are not that good and these are the nurses who are the foot-soldiers of the NHS."

Criminologist Stuart Lister from the department of law, highlighted problems that could arise should nightclubs be made to pay for police officers patrolling in and around their premises, as suggested by South Yorkshire police. The Independent reported how senior officers have accused clubbers of taking up huge amounts of police resources. Stuart Lister, an expert in the night-time economy, said: "In other police contract arrangements, such as with a local authority over patrolling certain housing estates, the force is not in a position to close the place down. There is potential for a conflict of interest here."

Dr Richard Howells was again a studio guest on BBC Radio 4’s media discussion programme The Message. Among other topics of discussion was the future of Channel 4 television, which Dr Howells described as being ‘at a crossroads between its original public service commitment and growing commercialism’.

Professor Alistair Hall from the Leeds General Infirmary, contributed his expertise in the Yorkshire Post on the role genes play in dying unexpectedly young from heart disease. The sudden death of author Douglas Adams from coronary disease brought to light recent research on whether a history of heart problems in the family can be just as significant as fitness and diet in the fight against heart problems. Professor Hall said: "There is no hard-and-fast rule, but the more close relatives you have with young-onset heart disease, the more seriously you should take it."

The Yorkshire Post profiled the involvement of the University in Courtroom 21, a project to develop new technology for the judicial system. Project leader Professor Peter Dew said: "People in the States have been looking at technology and how it could influence courtrooms — it could lead to some dramatic changes. We’ve chosen to consider the problem of dispute resolution in an area such as patent infringement where two parties may be in different countries."

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