Julian Savulescu, Director of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, UK, argues that doctors who compromise the delivery of medical services to patients on conscience grounds should be punished through removal of licence to practise and other legal mechanisms.
He recognizes that values are an important part of our lives. But values and conscience have different roles in public and private life, he writes. They should influence discussion on what kind of health system to deliver. But they should not influence the care an individual doctor offers to his or her patients.
The door to "value-driven medicine" is a door to a Pandora's box of idiosyncratic, bigoted, discriminatory medicine. Public servants must act in the public interest, not their own, he concludes. For the full article, check out the British Medical Journal (subscription required).