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Mind your ethical views

From Dr James Gerrard, Leeds

In her article 'When religious beliefs affect ethical decisions' (Finance, 10 May), Dr Emma Cuzner reminds GPs of their duties as set out by the GMC in Good Medical Practice (2006).

Among the important passages she mentions paragraph 7, which states: 'You must treat your patients with respect whatever their life choices and beliefs. You must not unfairly discriminate against them by allowing your personal views to affect adversely your professional relationship with them or the treatment you provide.'This key phrase will often be assumed to be directed at GPs such as me with anti-abortion views – and indeed it is. Less well recognised, I think, is the fact that this statement is also highly relevant to those doctors in favour of abortion, and should serve as a reminder that their views may unfairly influence a woman in conflict. Because each of us observes our own ethical viewpoint, we should remember that GMC guidance applies not just to other GPs – it applies to us all.

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