Duncan Wilson
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The emergence of bioethics in British universities

Many of the academics who taught on new interdisciplinary ethics courses were increasingly located in dedicated bioethics centres from the late 1980s onwards. During the 1960s and 1970s, as Edward Shotter notes, 'there was no teaching in ethics in British medical education' and leading doctors believed that ethical questions were best 'discussed by consultants, with consultants and in camera'. The non-doctors who taught medical students were initially based in law, philosophy and social science departments. The pressure on philosophy departments was compounded when the government replaced the University Grants Committee (UGC) with a new Universities Funding Council (UFC) in 1988. The degree's structure and focus, with input from many staff and departments across the university, reflected the British attitude that no one profession should dominate medical ethics or bioethics.

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