GPs refuse abortion referrals

AROUND ten per cent of Derbyshire doctors refuse to give abortion referrals due to their religious beliefs

A further handful of the county’s GPs will not give emergency contraception advice.

The information was gathered from Derbyshire Local Medical Committee after a shocked Derbyshire Times reader spotted a sign in her surgery stating certain doctors would not speak to patients about terminations or emergency contraception.

The reader, who did not want to be named, saw the information at Wheatbridge Surgery, Chesterfield.

She said: “I was surprised to see the notice and wondered what it was all about.”

A spokeswoman from the surgery, on Wheatbridge Road, said: “It’s not an unusual thing.

“Some doctors have their own religious beliefs.

“The last thing we want is for patients to have an appointment with a doctor who can’t deal with their request so we put up the sign to make sure they aren’t wasting their time and there’s no embarrassment for anybody.”

She added that all but two doctors would refer patients for terminations but four of the surgery’s doctors refused to actually sign the papers for terminations.

John Grenville, secretary of Derbyshire Local Medical Committee, said: “From the doctors I deal with I think around ten per cent of GPs will probably have a difficulty with terminations. Considerably less will have a difficulty with emergency contraception, maybe a dozen across Derbyshire.”

Mr Grenville said advice from the General Medical Council stated that doctors must make the care of patients their first concern and must not unfairly discriminate against patients by allowing their views to affect their professional relationship.

He added that if procedures or advice conflicts with doctors religious beliefs they must tell patients they have the right to see another doctor.

“Doctors must not allow their personal views to prejudice assessment.

“There is a clause however that says no doctor can be forced to participate in terminations,” he said.

l Do you think doctors should have the right to refuse abortion referrals or emergency contraception advice? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk

julia.rodgerson

@derbyshiretimes.co.uk