We are delighted to announce the appointment of Jonathan Montgomery as the new Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. Jonathan is Professor of Health Care Law at the University of Southampton and Chair of Hampshire Primary Care Trust. Jonathan will begin his 5-year term on 12 March 2012.

“I was delighted to be invited to take on this role,” said Professor Montgomery. “The Council has made an outstanding contribution over its first twenty years; informing public opinion and influencing policy and practice in areas of vital interest to our society. I relish the prospect of being part of its work over the next five years. Bioethics touches all of our lives and we need to think clearly and rigorously about using our scientific knowledge responsibly and for the benefit of us all. The Council has established itself as a pre-eminent source of wise advice in the UK and internationally. It will be a privilege to join it.”

Professor Montgomery takes over from Albert Weale, ESRC Professorial Fellow and Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy at University College London, who has chaired the Council since 2008. Under Albert’s chairmanship, the Council has published reports on the ethics of dementia care, personalised healthcare, biofuels, and organ and tissue donation.

“The Nuffield Council occupies a unique place in our common lives,” said Professor Weale. “For over 20 years it has devoted careful thought and deliberation to some of the most challenging issues that confront us in our personal and collective concerns, including the proper care of those undergoing clinical trials in developing countries, the nature and limits of the gift relationship or the place and role of genetic modification of plants and non-human animals, as well as so many more topics. I have had personal experience on many occasions of the high esteem in which the Council is held around the world. If there were not a Nuffield Council, it would be necessary to invent it. Long may its deliberations continue.”

Jonathan Montgomery: biography

Professor Montgomery has served as non-executive chair of a number of NHS boards since 1998, including two NHS Trusts, a Strategic Health Authority and a Primary Care Trust. Nationally, he chairs the Advisory Committee of Clinical Excellence Awards. He has chaired the Human Genetics Commission, which advises the UK Governments on social, ethical and legal issues arising from human genetics, since 2009 and will step down from that role to take up his appointment with the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

He has extensive experience of exploring bioethical issues. He was a member of the Council’s Working Party on Public Health Ethics, which reported in 2007. He is a member of the Government’s Committee on the Ethical Aspects of Pandemic Influenza, and was part of a group drawing up guidance for the British Society for Human Genetics on the genetic testing of children in 2010. His other past service includes the Organ Donation Task Force, the Medical Ethics Committee of the British Medical Association and the Ethics Advisory Group to the Care Records Development Board.

Jonathan chaired the committee which devised a strategy on brain tissue banking for the UK Clinical Research Collaboration in 2008 and currently chairs the Scientific Steering Committee for Brain Banks UK, which was established to implement that strategy. He has also been chair of the Southampton Local Research Ethics Committee.

He is the author of a leading textbook on Health Care Law and numerous articles. His book with Priscilla Alderson, Health Care Choices: Making decisions with Children, has been widely influential and was referred to in the Department of Health's guidance on children's consent. In April 2005 he was elected to honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Jonathan has lived in Hampshire for over 25 years and represents the NHS on the Hampshire Senate. He was a commissioner on the County Council’s Commission of Inquiry into the Future of Adult Social Care, whose report Getting Personal: a fair deal for better care and support was published in 2008. His wife lectures in Midwifery at the University of Southampton. They have two daughters; one studying veterinary medicine and the other planning to study law.