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Freedom of conscience: a benefit to health care worker and patient alike

Roger Kiska (Christian Legal Centre, London, UK)

International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare

ISSN: 2056-4902

Article publication date: 14 May 2018




The purpose of this paper is to determine the appropriate legal balance and framework whereby issues of health care, patient access and rights of conscience can be best accommodated.


A review of existing case law, statutes and conscience clauses as applied to the philosophical debate surrounding conscience in health care.


Freedom of conscience is strongly anchored in British law and policy. Practice within the health care industry, however, has been slow and resistant to rights of conscience. Respecting the right of health care workers to exercise that right, benefits the health care industry at large, and patients themselves.


This debate, particularly since the so-called “Scottish mid-wives case” and the recent General Pharmaceutical Council consultation on religion and personal values, has come to the forefront of bio-ethical discourse in recent months. As such, this treatment provides a valuable legal tool to answering the various positions involved in the debate.



Kiska, R. (2018), "Freedom of conscience: a benefit to health care worker and patient alike", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 144-152.



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