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]
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]
Christian Concern reported earlier this year that the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) had amended its guidance to remove any protection for pharmacists and their legal right to freedom of conscience.
Christian Concern provided submissions to the GPhC stating very clearly that not only did pharmacists enjoy a legal right to freedom of conscience, but also that the public had a right to receive services from pharmacists who share their set of values. . . [Full text]
CatholicPhilly/Catholic News Service
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — In a U-turn of proposed policy, Britain’s pharmacy regulator has declared that Catholic pharmacists should not be forced to dispense lethal drugs against their consciences.
The General Pharmaceutical Council, the regulatory body that sets professional standards for the industry throughout the country, has backed away from controversial proposals to abolish the right of people with religious convictions to conscientiously object to dispensing the morning-after pill, contraceptives and hormone-blocking drugs used by transsexual patients.
In new guidance issued June 22, it says: “Professionals have the right to practice in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs as long as they act in accordance with equalities and human rights law and make sure that person-centered care is not compromised.” . . . [Full text]
The Christian Institute
Christian pharmacists will remain free to do their jobs in line with their consciences after regulators published new guidance recognising the “positive” role of religion.
Earlier draft guidance by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) could have forced Christians to provide access to abortifacient or hormone-blocking drugs.
The guidance now states: “Pharmacy professionals have the right to practise in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs”. The changes were made after The Christian Institute threatened the GPhC with legal action and hundreds of Christian professionals raised objections. . . [Full text]
Lawyer Noel Wardle explains the impact and context of the controversial standards for pharmacists
All pharmacists will be aware of standard 3.4 in the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) previous standards of conduct, ethics and performance – often referred to as the “conscience clause”. This clause gave pharmacists an opt-out for providing services and medicines that are contrary to their “religious and moral beliefs”.
However, the regulator adopted new standards in May – called the ‘standards for pharmacy professionals’ – and pharmacists and employers alike need to think about the implications. . . [Full text]
Pro-life medics in the US are ‘under attack’, an academic has warned.
Author and bioethicist, Wesley J. Smith, said medics who are morally opposed to abortion and assisted suicide may soon be forced to choose between “their careers and their convictions”.
He made the comments in an article for First Things, an influential journal of religion and public life.
In support of his case, he highlighted work published in the New England Journal of Medicine which described abortion as “a standard obstetrical practice” and “not medically controversial”.
Smith said: “The authors take an absolutist position, claiming that personal morality has no place in medical practice.”
He went on to highlight several examples where doctors are being forced to refer patients for abortion and assisted suicide “even if they are morally opposed”. . . . [Full text]
Pharmacy regulators have removed a ‘conscience clause’ from their standards code meaning Christians and other religious people could be forced to ensure that contraceptives and other medicines are handed out against their beliefs.
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GphC) said allowing personal religious beliefs and values to dictate dispensing practice was ‘not compatible’ with a ‘person-centred care’ they wanted to offer.
The regulatory body that sets standards across British pharmacists said they wanted to ensure patient care is ‘not compromised by religious belief’. . . [Full text]
Religious guidance may put UK pharmacists at risk of punishment, says C + D author… but what about Aussie pharmacists?
According to the UK publication Chemist + Druggist, in 2013 the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) banned a pharmacist from providing emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) for three years because he had given a patient “a distressing explanation of why his religion regarded EHC as morally wrong”.
Now the Council is bringing in new standards – due to come into effect on May 1 – proposing that pharmacy professionals should not be able to refuse services based on their religion, personal values or beliefs.
The GPhC also suggests that referral to another pharmacist should not be an option, reports C + D. . . [Full text]
Conscience protections for pharmacists would be diluted by draft proposals, The Christian Institute has warned.
Currently, pharmacists who do not wish to sell abortifacients, such as the morning after pill, may refer customers to another pharmacist.
But new draft General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) standards weaken that right of referral and state that pharmacists must ensure that “person-centred care is not compromised because of personal values and beliefs”. . . [Full text]