.- Proposed standards for U.K. medical professionals could force them to violate their religious beliefs on the job, both Christian and Muslim groups have warned.
David Clapham, a treasurer of the group Christians in Pharmacy, says the proposed changes could deter religious people from entering the profession and may make “the position of some excellent professionals untenable.”
“This would be to the detriment of the profession, patients and pharmacy as a whole,” he said, according to The Pharmaceutical Journal, a publication of the U.K.-based Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
The independent regulator for pharmacy in Great Britain, the General Pharmaceutical Council, recently announced proposed changes in professional standards.
Both the current and the proposed wording for the professional standards guidance say that pharmacy professionals must “recognize their own values and beliefs” but “not impose them on other people.”
However, current guidelines allow pharmacy professionals to make a referral to other providers in cases where their own values or beliefs prevent them from providing care. The proposed guidelines say pharmacy professionals should “take responsibility for ensuring that person-centered care is not compromised because of personal values and beliefs.”
Referrals usually concern the provision of emergency hormonal contraception, routine contraception and some fertility treatments.
“People of faith are usually people of compassion … even if they cannot agree in all conscience to supply certain medications,” Clapham said.
Hina Shahid, chair of the Muslim Doctors Association, voiced concerns that the proposed changes, like ending the right of referral, are “very restrictive.”
Read more at Catholic News Agency.