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How far can we promote our religious beliefs in practice?

Practice Q&As

It is not yet illegal to discriminate against job applicants on religious grounds, so when advertising vacancies for partners or staff you are at liberty to state that you are a Christian practice and that Christian applicants will be preferred.

You should give patients the opportunity to learn of your strong religious views.

Putting posters with Biblical texts on the walls of the waiting room, or tracts in the leaflet rack, are tactics used by some practices.

However, make sure the content of these will not offend people whose beliefs differ from your own. In particular, avoid derogatory references to other religions. Be prepared for how you will deal with clinical issues which might put your beliefs in conflict with your obligations to the patient.

Termination of pregnancy is an obvious example, but contraception, palliative care or the management of substance misuse might also cause problems.

If you have absolute views in any of these areas, a notice in the waiting area advising patients on where else they can go for help might avoid embarrassment.

As far as talking about your beliefs in the consultation goes, always be guided by the patient. There will be many who find it reassuring to be cared for by doctors who believe in a higher power, but others may find references to Christianity, or offers of personal prayer, somewhat alienating.

Inviting patients to practice prayer meetings may sound like an appealing way of bridging the doctor/patient divide, but are probably best avoided as the risk of breaching confidentiality is too great.

Be careful, too, about inviting patients to make a religious commitment at times of emotional distress, as this could be regarded as abuse of your position.

Some patients might find references to Christianity somewhat alienating features

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