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No change to conscience clause planned, says GPhC

By News team

No conscience clause changes are planned for this year, and whether or not amendments are needed will be considered as part of a wider standards review in 2013–14, the General Pharmaceutical Council has decided.

The so-called conscience clause, which is found in the standards for conduct, ethics and performance (standard 3.4), allows registrants to refuse to provide a service on the basis of religious or moral beliefs, providing they inform the relevant people and refer patients on to another provider.

After conducting an internal review of the clause (PJ 2011;287:339), the GPhC decided that any feedback on the issue will be considered as part of an overall review of the standards for conduct, ethics and performance that is scheduled for 2013–14.

"As with all our standards guidance, we will bring this forward if either legal developments, including case law, or our own regulatory experiences indicate that a review is necessary", it says in an update document noted at the council’s latest meeting (12 April 2012).

During the meeting, one of the council members emphasised that the clause — although commonly considered in the context of supplying emergency hormonal contraception — is relevant to a range of issues, including assisted dying.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11099698

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