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Institute of Medical Ethics

Institute of Medical Ethics
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Papers of the Institute of Medical Ethics (IME) and its predecessor or affiliated organisations, the Society for the Study of Medical Ethics (SSME) and the London Medical Group (LMG)

Consisting of: Administrative material including minutes, membership lists, reports, founding documents, accounts, and legal, financial and general correspondence; Material relating to Institute publications, including the Journal of Medical Ethics, and IME Publications Ltd, the company established to publish them; Research material including proposals, working party minutes, protocols and reports; Educational and outreach material including lecture lists and attendance figures, papers presented, conference programmes, and a retrospective study of the medical groups.



Physical description

18 boxes


The material has been arranged into 7 sections as follows:
Section A: Governing and Administrative Bodies; includes minutes, membership lists and reports
Section B: Legal; includes founding documents, legal agreements and legal correspondence
Section C: Finance and Funding; includes Finance & General Purposes Committee minutes and corerspondence, accounts, cash flow projections and financial correspondence
Section D: Journals Published; material pertaining to the Journal of Medical Ethics and the IME Bulletin including IME Publications Ltd, a company set up to publish them
Section E: Research; material pertainng to research activities of the IME and its predecessors, including research protocols, proposals and grants, minutes of working parties, correspondence and research outputs
Section F : Education and Engagement; material relating to education and engagement activities of the London Medical Group and other medical groups including lecture lists and attendance figures, conference materials, and a retrospective study on the medical groups
Section G: General Correspondence

Acquisition note

Given to the Wellcome Library in 2007 and 2008 by the Institute of Medical Ethics

Biographical note

The Institute of Medical Ethics (IME) is a charitable organisation dedicated to improving education and debate in medical ethics. It origins are in the London Medical Group, which provided an extracurricular education programme on ethical issues in the London Teaching Hospitals and Medical Schools.

The London Medical Group (LMG) began as an unincorporated association, established in 1963 by Edward Shotter. Subsequently the LMG Trust was formed and registered as a charity. In 1970 the London Medical Group was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and not having share capital, the word limited being omitted by license of the Board of Trade.

In 1971, arising out of the work the LMG was doing in medical ethics education, but extending the interests in ethics further, the LMG agreed to form a subgroup, named the Society for the Study of Medical Ethics (SSME). The SSME was inaugurated in 1972, supported by the LMG.

In November 1974, the name of the limited company was changed from London Medical Group to the Society for the Study of Medical Ethics (SSME), in order to more accurately reflect the wider activities of the company in both education and ethics research. On the same date an unincorporated society was formed, in association with the SSME, called the London Medical Group. This second incarnation of the LMG was subsequently registered as a separate charity, while remaining part of the SSME.

In August 1984 the Society for the Study of Medical Ethics changed its name to The Institute for Medical Ethics (IME). The London Medical Group continued to exist in association with the IME, running an extracurricular educational programme until April 1989. From 1989 onwards medical ethics was included in the undergraduate medical curriculum.

The IME research programme derived from the Edinburgh Medical Group's research project in medical ethics and education which published reports on the ethics of terminal care and resource allocation. Subsequent IME reports covered topics such as clinical research on children, animal research, nursing ethics, ethical implications of HIV/AIDS, and the ethics of prolonging life and assisting death.

In 1975, the Society for the Study of Medical Ethics founded the Journal of Medical Ethics, which the IME continues to publish in conjunction with the BMJ Publishing Group, and of which it remains co-owner.

This administrative history is based in part on correspondence in SA/IME/B/9. For more information on the Institute of Medical Ethics, please see its website,

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