British doctors told to keep beliefs out of surgery

Muslim doctors have been advised not to wear a veil because it could restrict free communication and serve as a barrier to building relationships of trust with patients, a medical council has said. The guidelines, developed by the General Medical Council (GMC), cover topics including abortion, wearing a face veil and male circumcision. The call is similar to the controversial reasons given by the then home Secretary Jack Straw who said the veil served as a barrier to intergration. Doctors have been told to keep their personal beliefs out of the surgery to ensure they do not compromise patient care. The GMC says doctors “must be prepared to respond to a patient’s individual needs”. “In some situations this may require you to set aside your personal and cultural preferences in order to provide effective patient care,” the guidelines said. Although doctors are advised not to discuss personal beliefs with patients they can do so if they are directly relevant to patient care. The guidelines direct: “Whatever your personal beliefs may be about the procedure in question, you must be respectful of the patient’s dignity and views.” Dr John Jenkins, chair of the GMC standards and ethics committee, said: “The GMC recognises that personal beliefs, values, and cultural and religious practises are central to the lives of doctors and patients.