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RCOG release: Dr Vivienne Nathanson to lead RCOG’s ethics committee

News 17 November 2015

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has appointed Dr Vivienne Nathanson to chair its Ethics Committee. The RCOG’s Ethics Committee considers the ethical aspects and legal implications of issues affecting the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology.

Medical ethics throws up key issues for doctors to consider in their daily practice. In recent years the committee has provided advice and guidance to the profession on a range of complex topics including female genital cosmetic surgery, womb transplants, elective caesareans and sex selection.

The Ethics Committee is predominately made up of obstetrics and gynaecology consultants but also includes lay members and a representative from the Royal College of Midwives.

RCOG President Dr David Richmond, said:

“We are delighted that Dr Nathanson has agreed to lead our Ethics Committee. The range of ethical, legal and social issues affecting obstetrics and gynaecology provides a constant challenge to our doctors working in the UK and overseas.

“Abortion law reform, assisted reproduction, informed consent and shared decision making as well as conscientious objection are all examples of pertinent issues affecting our workforce today.

“Vivienne brings with her a wealth of experience from her time at the British Medical Association and she is well placed to steer our workforce through this plethora of ethical issues.”

Commenting on her appointment, Dr Nathanson, said:

“I’m very much looking forward to chairing the RCOG’s Ethics Committee and providing clinicians with practical, easy-to-use guidance on how they handle ethical issues. I also hope my appointment will help reassure women and their families that the doctors they are meeting are working towards an agreed set of principles.

“The RCOG places great emphasis on the importance of good quality education for doctors and finding pragmatic solutions to ethical problems is a crucial skill that I hope to help them develop over the coming years.” 


For media enquiries, please contact Emma Gilgunn-Jones on 020 7772 6300 or email

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.