X-ray trial on asylum seekers started without formal approval

UK Border Agency failed to wait for go-ahead from NHS medical ethics watchdog before starting pilot to establish age of childrenThe UK Border Agency embarked on a controversial trial of using dental x-rays to establish the age of young asylum seekers without the formal approval of the NHS watchdog which ensures medical research is ethical, the Guardian can reveal.The failure to wait for the go-ahead emerged days after the chief medical officer, Sally Davies, demanded reassurance last Friday that the agency had obtained a "positive assessment" on the trial which started last week.The agency repeatedly refused to tell the Guardian whether it had backing from the National Ethics Research Service. On Thursday the NERS said the study had been referred to it for advice but "has not yet been referred formally on for approval".Immigration officials have previously complained that adult asylum seekers claim to be under 18 to avoid removal. The trial has already been condemned by Britain's four.