I'm publishing this letter to the editor as a public service:
In response to David Warren's column, this is to clarify that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario began consulting with the medical profession and other stakeholders on a draft policy, "Physicians and the Ontario Human Rights Code", at the end of June.
The policy is intended to assist doctors in understanding their current legal obligations under the Human Rights Code, and set out the expectations of the medical profession.
All services that doctors provide -- including decisions to accept or refuse individuals as patients, decisions about providing treatment or granting referrals to existing patients, and decisions to end doctor-patient relationships -- are subject to the obligations of the Human Rights Code.
Contrary to what was written in the column, the College does not expect physicians to provide medical services that are against their moral or religious beliefs.
If physicians feel they cannot provide a service for these reasons, the draft policy does expect physicians to communicate clearly, treat patients with respect and provide information about accessing care.
Feedback from doctors and the public always informs our policy development. The consultation deadline has been extended to Sept. 12, 2008, and all responses will be considered by the college's governing council.
Preston Zuliani, M.D.,
President, College of
Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
I'm still nervous about the "subject to the Ontario Human Rights Code" part.
We know what means.
It means the human rights of everyone else except conservative Christians.
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