You are probably aware that State agencies have general powers to prevent and control specific communicable diseases. However, you may not fully appreciate the full extent of these powers. The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 were rushed into force in England without parliamentary scrutiny and limited publicity on 10 February 2020, to address the potential threat of the Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCOV). This secondary legislation grants Public Health England (PHE) wide powers to detain, isolate, treat and quarantine both domestic nationals and international visitors, and builds upon the wider public health powers available under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. Of particular note, is the ability of the Secretary of State to issue or withdraw a ‘serious and imminent threat declaration‘ by website notice (S3); and the wide powers that are subsequently afforded to registered public health consultants working within PHE. These powers include the ability to force individuals to submit to medical investigation, treatment and isolation without consent. It is a sober reminder of just how precious and vulnerable our freedoms are when there are perceived threats to the wider public interest.
Posts By / jwale
On the 13 November 2019, BU hosted a one day interdisciplinary conference addressing a range of perspectives and concerns relating to human fertility control. The event was opened with a keynote presentation from Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service on ‘Compelling choices: decision-making around contraception in the UK today’. This was followed by a series of contributions – including presentations from charitable, medical and academic stakeholders – with coverage of emergency and long-acting reversible contribution; population control through nudging behaviours; recognition of a legal right to family planning and discussion of abortion care and regulation. The conference was organised by Jeffrey Wale, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Humanities and Law and was funded by an ACORN award aimed at supporting Early Career Researchers. One of the central aims of the event was to start up conversations, generate new links and to establish a network of interested parties.
Jeffrey Wale, Law academic, presented a paper on Regulating Medical Decision-Making at the Law in Context Early Career Workshop at the University of Oxford on the 17-18 September 2019.
The paper was selected for inclusion in the workshop following an open competition organised by the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford and aimed at doctoral researchers. The paper was based on Jeffrey’s doctoral research which examined a narrow contextual focus (multiple pregnancy), placed a spotlight on a specialist set of medical procedures (fetal reduction) operating in a unique regulatory environment and complicated by a polarised range of socio-political factors. In doing so, the research was able to explore decision-making in a situationally centred context unavailable with a broader landscape or a different research lens. The use of qualitative research methods and interview data from key stakeholders, in combination with a critical realist lens, has enabled the work to address the particular power dynamics of these clinical encounters. The research pursues three central lines of inquiry: first, to understand more about the nature of fetal reduction in multiple pregnancy, its frequency, and the legal ground(s) for termination on which doctors typically rely; secondly, to assess the extent to which legal, ethical and professional norms guide and constrain this particular kind of decision-making; and, thirdly, to evaluate the adequacy of these norms and to explore possible solutions. The jurisdictional context is England and Wales.
Jeffrey Wale (FMC) has won a place on the Law in Context Early Career Workshop organised by the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford in September 2019. This followed an open competition involving PGRs submitting their PHD thesis in 2019. Ten applicants were chosen to participate and the best papers from the workshop will be considered for publication in the International Journal of Law in Context. Jeffrey will be presenting his doctoral research titled Regulating Medical Decision-Making: A Qualitative Study of Fetal Reduction in Multiple Pregnancy.
Professor Sam Rowlands (FHSS)* and Jeffrey Wale (FMC)** have published a paper ‘Sterilisations at delivery or after childbirth: Addressing continuing abuses in the consent process’ in the international journal, Global Public Health.
This is the first output from an interdisciplinary and cross faculty research project addressing fertility control on the global stage. Specifically, the research examines the regulatory, ethical and medical issues associated with reversible and irreversible forms of fertility control. Future publications will address the use of State incentivised sterilisation in India and the promotion of long-acting reversible contraception.
* Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research & Education, Bournemouth University ** Centre for Conflict, Rule of Law & Society, Bournemouth University