Making Decisions About Decision-Making: Conscience, Regulation and the Law
23 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 22, 2015
This article addresses the issue of the separation of the institutional, personal and professional ethical standards involved in interactions between doctor and patient. This area is of particular importance given the failure of ethical standards highlighted by Robert Francis QC in his report into the events at Staffordshire Foundation NHS Trust. The paper explores the nature of each of the standards, their relationships with each other and the appropriateness of doctors having to choose between their professional obligations and their consciences. It also assesses how this categorisation might influence issues surrounding regulation and ensuring patients’ rights are protected. Finally, the paper examines the role of the law with respect to the proper protection of both the rights of patients and the need for doctors’ choices based on their consciences to be respected.
Keywords: separation, ethical standards, doctor/patient interaction, patients’ rights.
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