Heather Bellamy spoke with Ciaran Kelly, the Head of Communications at the Christian Institute, about the importance of reasonable accommodation in balancing people’s rights, and how after consultation, the General Pharmaceutical Council have chosen to continue to value their pharmacists faith and conscience, as well as patient care.
For the past few months, Christian pharmacists in Great Britain anticipated having to choose between their faith and their job, but after a huge campaign and the threat of legal action from the Christian Institute, their regulatory body has backed away from ending conscience rights. Heather Bellamy spoke with Ciaran Kelly, the Head of Communications, at the Christian Institute, to find out more. . . [Full text]
LITTLE ROCK — A legislative panel voted Monday to conduct a study in the interim between sessions on a bill that would allow a health-care provider to refuse to provide a service that violates his or her conscience.
The House and Senate committees on public health, welfare and labor voted, without discussion, to study legislation by Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro, that failed to advance out of the House public health panel during this year’s session.
House Bill 1628, titled The Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act, would have allowed a person or institution that provides health care to refuse to participate in a non-emergency service that contradicts his or her religious, moral or ethical principles. It would have prohibited the person or institution from being punished for the refusal through criminal, civil or administrative action. . . [Full text]
Ontario government looking at changes to fee and referral system to make it easier for doctors
While physicians in other provinces have raised the touchy subject of how much they should get paid for ending a life, Dr. James Downar says that money is not what’s stopping more doctors from providing medically assisted dying in Ontario.
“Nobody is getting rich off this and nobody should think they’re going to get rich off this,” Downar, a critical and palliative care physician in Toronto, said in an interview.
He’s one of just six physicians in Toronto registered to provide medical aid in dying. There are 74 in all of Ontario. . . [Full text]
Eastern Daily Press
I was drawn to a news story which snuck under the radar this week. This issue is a classic ‘contract’ versus ‘conscience’ battle facing some pharmacists, which was brilliantly highlighted on the BBC Radio Norfolk Sunday Breakfast programme.
I pen this week’s article with genuine interest, a will to impartially provoke a healthy debate rather than trying to influence opinion. In a U-turn on proposed policy, Britain’s pharmacy regulator has declared that pharmacists should not be forced to dispense medicine and substances against their consciences. This includes drugs such as the morning-after pill or even contraceptives. The pharmacist can object if it goes against their religious beliefs, forcing the customer to go elsewhere. . . [Full text]
Stahl and Emanuel (April 6 issue)1 rightly differentiate between conscripts and physicians. Nonetheless, they state, “the profession . . . uses reflective equilibrium to self-correct. This dynamic process establishes professional obligations . . . regardless of . . . personal beliefs.”1 This point fails to recognize that conscientious objectors are engaging in the dynamic process from within the profession to counter problematic professional obligations and to correct mistakes. . . [Full text]
Liao L,Goligher E. Conscientious Objection in Health Care, N Engl J Med 2017; 377:96-98 July 6, 2017 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1706233
Chicago on the Radar
After the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973, federal legislation was passed to represent the interests of doctors and other healthcare workers who have religious or moral objections to the controversial procedure. These “right-of-conscience” laws provide a measure of protection for medical personnel who do not want to perform abortions or offer abortion referrals.
In Illinois, all that changed on January 1 of this year, when Governor Bruce Rauner’s amendment to the legislation officially took effect, requiring clinicians, regardless of their moral convictions, to inform pregnant women about “all their options,” including abortion.
Healthcare entities must at least provide women with abortion referrals. There seems to be some concern that patients are not being apprised of all the courses of action they can pursue when they find themselves in a crisis pregnancy.
Two Christian pregnancy centers– 1st Way Pregnancy Support Services (McHenry County) and Pregnancy Aid South Suburbs (Lansing)– and a physician who serves patients at various clinics, have since filed suit in opposition to the enactment. Plaintiffs point out that the Illinois legislation is a clear violation of federal law. Furthermore, it tramples on clinicians’ First Amendment Rights, requiring providers to inform patients about a procedure that they believe is morally wrong. . . [Full Text]
As a faith-based institution, St. Joe’s won’t help its patients die
Despite being allowed by law in Canada, patients at any St. Joseph’s Health Care London facility must go elsewhere if they want a medically assisted death.
In June of 2016, Parliament passed Bill C-14, which lays out the rules that allow doctors and nurse practioners to legally end the lives of patients who are suffering and whose deaths are “reasonably foreseeable.”
Doctors and faith-based intuitions in Ontario that object to doctor-assisted death for religious reasons can’t be forced to perform any procedure that helps a patient die.
As a Catholic intuition, St. Joseph’s won’t allow medically assisted deaths to happen at its facilities, which include the main hospital, the Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care (394 beds) and the Parkwood Institute’s Main Building (14 palliative care beds and 156 long-term care beds). . . [Full Text]
Payments have been slow and amount of time that doctors can bill isn’t enough, says Dr. Tim Holland
The president-elect of Doctors Nova Scotia is concerned that delays in getting paid for administering medically assisted deaths is deterring more doctors from offering the service.
Dr. Tim Holland said he’s yet to be paid for any of the procedures he’s done since Bill-C14 came into effect in June 2016.
Of the 67 claims made in the province for assessments and procedures related to medically assisted deaths, 35 have been paid and 32 are being assessed for payment, the Department of Health and Wellness said Tuesday. . . [Full text]
‘We’re being paid 50% of what we would doing routine office work. So it’s difficult to justify continuing’
Medically assisted dying has been legal in Canada for over a year, but one B.C. doctor says he can no longer afford to offer the service, because the costs involved are much greater than the $200 payout from the provincial medical services plan.
In a letter, Dr. Jesse Pewarchuk calls the situation “economically untenable” while outlining a number of steps a physician must follow in the medical assistance in dying (MAID) procedure. . . [Full text]
Dr. Scott Anderson says too many barriers stand between patients and access to a doctor-assisted death
Although medically assisted dying has been law for more than a year in Canada, Dr. Scott Anderson is one of only two physicians in the London area willing to help his patients die.
Anderson, an emergency intensive care specialist at London Health Sciences Centre, is one of only 74 doctors in Ontario and 11 in the South West Local Health Integration Network registered with the province’s 1-800 number to help connect patients seeking the procedure with doctors willing to perform it. . . [Full text]