SUPPORT FOR DELIBERATION AND DECISION-MAKING
In France, the Agence de la biomédecine is the public health authority of reference for the medical, scientific and ethical aspects of both cell, tissue and organ transplantation, and procreation, embryology, and human genetics. Given the complexity of its missions and society’s high expectations in these matters it needs the support of leading experts. For this reason the agence has set up several expert bodies to provide advice, recommendations, proposals and/or evaluations. They include the Medical and Scientific Committee, ad hoc focus groups, advisory boards and expert commissions.
THE MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE
The Medical and Scientific Committee works very closely with the Director General of the Agence, offering expertise, advice and suggestions. It is responsible for the scientific coordination of the activities of the experts who work together to assist the Agence. The Director General of the Agence appoints its thirty members, all of whom are recognised medical and scientific experts in the Agence’s various spheres of activity.
As well as the expertise the Agence de la biomédecine provides with the help of the Medical and Scientific Committee and expert groups, it also calls on the specialist expertise of the following bodies in specific areas :
- The Expert Commission for human embryo and human embryonic stem cell research
- The Scientific Council of the Renal Epidemiology and Information Network (REIN)
- The Steering Committee of the French cord blood network
- The Committee of Hospital coordination certification
- The Expert Committee examining requests for practitioner licensing
WORKING GROUPS AND EXPERT COMMITTEES
The Agence de la biomédecine and healthcare professionals together work towards the shared goal of improving the provision and quality of patient care with around 1,000 experts contributing to the Agence’s working groups each year.
All medical decisions concerning individual patients, for example to give priority status to a patient on the national organ transplant waiting list, or, exceptionally, to accept a seropositive living donor, are based on the opinion of medical expert committees. These are established specifically to provide independent expert advice to the Agence de la biomédecine.