Medicine and matters of conscience


Sir, – I was pleased to read William Binchy’s opinion piece (“Doctors must not be forced to act against conscience”, July 9th) and very much welcome his contribution and incisive comments.

Additionally, I note that Minister for Health Simon Harris, on July 10th, received Government approval for legislation which will provide for the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018.

Additionally, it has been indicated that the availability of abortion services will be subject to discussion between the minister and GP family doctor representatives.

I would like to suggest to Mr Harris that he look at the significant reality of the institutional family composition of the service team at each of the hospitals for which he has a responsibility and for the shared desire they provide in caring for the public health.

I personally acknowledge the inestimable value and importance of each and every hospital staff member and their need to be involved in discussions on Government proposals in this matter.

In the Bradbeer report, The Internal Administration of Hospitals (HMSO, London), we are advised that partnership among the different constituent parts of a hospital is fundamental. “No one part could do without the others. Co-operation is not enough: it must be willing co-operation springing from a consciousness of fellowship in a shared desire to serve.”

I concur with the view of Prof Binchy on the right of doctors not to be forced to act against conscience but would add that other staff members must not be compelled to participate in services that are contrary to their consciences. – Yours, etc,



Co Clare.