Healthcare, conscience, human rights, freedom of religion

Filed in Ethics by on October 12, 2013 2 Comments

source unknown photo by swang

I have often wondered why there is a struggle for Christian healthcare workers to practise the human right of freedom of conscience in their workplace (The Human Rights Act 1998, Article 9: Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion). It seems like such a basic freedom, so it surprises me that a country that prides itself on equality and diversity seems to discourage healthcare practitioners from feeling able to exercise that freedom of conscience in their workplaces in the public sector.

I think about the fear that sometimes accompanies someone’s decision to express their stance on a particular moral issue, if it will prevent them from partaking in a certain procedure or treatment. Why this fear? Perhaps someone thinks that holding a counter-cultural view will make others assume they are judgmental or discriminatory, and risk losing their job. When did a difference of opinion begin to equal a judgement or a condemnation? As Christians, we seek not to judge or condemn; and Christ warns against this (Matthew 7:1-5). It is possible to state an alternative point of view without condemnation.

If you or anybody you know is having difficulties in matters of conscience in a healthcare setting, or wishes to discuss any related issues, then you may wish to take a look at the website of the Catholic Medical Association UK.

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Anulika Igboaka

About the Author ()

Anulika Igboaka is a medical doctor, currently training in psychiatry. She has an interest in medical ethics as well as the role of spirituality within mental health. She enjoys teaching medical students when she has the opportunity to, and one of her favourite pastimes is singing in church choirs.

Comments (2)

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  1. Nicky says:

    This is so funny! Before I scrolled down the page and saw who wrote this post I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if Anuli would be interested in this!’
    Thanks for posting.

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