Respond now to consultation that would bar pro-life pharmacists
21 February 2017
The GPhC is consulting on religion, personal values and beliefs in pharmacy practice.
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is considering proposals that would remove the right to conscientiously refuse to provide abortifacient drugs.
The GPhC has launched a public consultation on "religion, personal values and beliefs in pharmacy practice". SPUC is urging supporters to respond to the consultation, and has produced a briefing to support this, which can be downloaded below. The consultation ends on 7 March.
Under current rules a pharmacist who does not wish to issue an abortifacient drug can refer the patient to another colleague. However, under a new example given in the consultation document, this option would be removed. Instead, the pharmacist would have to "take responsibility for ensuring that person-centred care is not compromised because of personal values and belief".
The consultation document goes on to make clear the practical implications of this change, saying: "these proposals will change the expectations placed on pharmacy professional when their religion, personal values or beliefs might...impact on their ability to provide services. They will shift the balance in favour of the needs and rights of the person in their care...under the new proposals, a referral to another service provider might not be the right option, or enough, to ensure that person-centred care is not compromised. This is a significant change from the present position".
Radical undermining of pharmacists' rights
Dr Anthony McCarthy of SPUC, who produced the briefing, said: "What is proposed poses a very serious challenge to 'conscientious objection' and amounts to a radical undermining of pharmacists' rights in this morally crucial area. Please do take the time to respond to the consultation and register your strong objection to proposals which may well make it effectively impossible for pro-lifers to practice pharmacy in this country."