Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude

United Kingdom

Christian Medical Fellowship (UK)

Policies & statements relevant to freedom of conscience

Links and annotations

Withholding and Withdrawing Life-Prolonging Treatments: Good Practice in Decision Making
Submission to the General Medical Council, 1 July, 2001
Differences of View about best interests (para 9)

Q5. In your experience, how effective is independent clinical and/or ethical review in helping to reach a consensus in such cases?

Independent reviews are more likely to be effective in reaching a consensus in cases of disagreement if they are easily and quickly attainable from people with extensive clinical experience, recognised integrity and the willingness to explain decision pathways. It is important that in the light of paragraphs 19 (senior clinician decides) and paragraph 40 (non-compliers answering to courts and GMC) that junior members of the health-care team are not forced to implement non-treatment decisions against conscience. A conscientious objection clause needs to be added here to ensure that such people are not discriminated against.

Human Bodies, Human Choices - The Law on Human Organs and Tissue in England and Wales
Submission to the Department of Health, 14 October, 2002 (United Kingdom)

15I. A provision for conscientious objection is essential to ensure that doctors and other health professionals who wish to abide by the Hippocratic Oath and Declaration of Geneva should not be discriminated against or stigmatised.

When may a general practitioner refuse to accept a patient?

. . . It is increasingly important to our members that the laws which define acceptable medical practice do not also force them to provide to patients whatever is deemed 'acceptable' within the law. . .

Conscientious objection and referral

. . . to require such involvement in abortion would be to breach the doctor's right under Article 9 of the ECHR. A guideline imposing such a requirement would accordingly be unlawful and susceptible to judicial review.

Maintaining trust in the profession / expressing personal beliefs

. . .The way we express beliefs in everyday life can be perceived in many different ways. A belief expressed in one way may be perceived by one listener as not distressing, and another as distressing. . .