Health authorities cannot force doctors to act against conscienceBMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7425.1187-b (Published 20 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1187
- Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
A health authority has no power to require psychiatrists to act in a way that conflicts with their conscientious professional judgment, the House of Lords ruled last week
The law lords made their ruling in a case brought by a patient in Rampton Hospital whose conditional discharge was ordered by a mental health review tribunal but who remained in hospital because psychiatrists refused to supervise his treatment in the community.
The patient, named only as IH, argued that his continued detention between the tribunal's ruling and a decision by a new tribunal two years later that he should go on being detained breached his right to liberty under article 5 of the European convention on human rights.
IH, who …