UN Declaration of Human RightsBMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7136.1020 (Published 28 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1020
NHS does not heed human rights declaration
- P J Tomlin, Secretary
- Society of Clinical Psychiatrists Study Group, Radnor House, The Headlands, Downton, Wiltshire SP5 3HJ
- Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary's, London W2 1PG
EDITOR—The re-publication of the 1948 United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights1 is a reminder of how completely this declaration and its sister, the European Convention of Human Rights, are ignored within the NHS.
Article 10 states that everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal in determination of rights and obligations. Article 6 of the European convention echoes this. Yet in the past 12 years not a single doctor has had such a hearing when facing the loss of his or her rights to practise as a doctor in the NHS; this contrasts greatly with the openness of the General Medical Council.
Article 12 states that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his correspondence, or to attacks on his honour and reputation. Suspended doctors commonly have their personal mail intercepted, opened, and forwarded only after delays. Similarly, statements about suspended doctors that may damage their reputation and that allegedly come from the health authorities often …