Published: 17/03/2005, Volume II5, No. 5947 Page 21

Professor Liz Meerabeau; head of School of Health and Social Care, Greenwich University

I was pleased to see that the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives and Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association are pressing for the research governance framework to be reviewed (page 22, 24 February) and I know that the Royal College of GPs has similar examples of the red tape in which researchers are becoming entangled.

Two points strike me about the framework. First, although the principles are sound, it doesn't provide much of a steer on what is a reasonable approach to risk management.

Second, it was probably written with clinical trials in mind - or at least studies where there is a fairly large amount of data collected in a few settings.

Also, the research governance framework processes can become particularly unwieldy in surveys and other research where multiple clearances are needed for collecting fairly small amounts of data in a large number of settings.

Lastly, it would streamline the whole process if there were more co-ordination between ethics clearance and research and development clearance.