Crackdown on migrants forces NHS doctors to ‘act as border guards’

The Guardian, 20 April 2017
Author: Amelia Gentleman
“A medical charity has launched a campaign against government guidance that “makes border guards of doctors” by allowing the Home Office to access details of undocumented migrants who seek NHS treatment. Doctors of the World runs clinics for undocumented migrants who are afraid of accessing NHS healthcare due to concerns that a visit to the doctor could lead to deportation. The organisation wants the government to “stop using NHS patients’ personal information to carry out immigration enforcement”.”
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The Hyde Amendment at 40 Years and Reproductive Rights in the United States

JAMA. 2017;317(15):1523-1524.
Authors: Eli Y. Adashi; Rachel H. Occhiogrosso
“On September 30, 1976, in the waning months of the 94th Congress, freshman Representative Henry J. Hyde (R-IL) witnessed his namesake amendment enacted into law via the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare Appropriation Act of 1977 (PL 94-439). All of one sentence, the amendment stipulated that “None of the [Medicaid] funds contained in this Act shall be used to perform abortions except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.”
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The BMA’s guidance on conscientious objection may be contrary to human rights law

Journal of Medical Ethics 2017; 43:260-263.
Author: Adenitire JO
“It is argued that the current policy of the British Medical Association (BMA) on conscientious objection is not aligned with recent human rights developments. These grant a right to conscientious objection to doctors in many more circumstances than the very few recognised by the BMA. However, this wide-ranging right may be overridden if the refusal to accommodate the conscientious objection is proportionate. It is shown that it is very likely that it is lawful to refuse to accommodate conscientious objections that would result in discrimination of protected groups. It is still uncertain, however, in what particular circumstances the objection may be lawfully refused, if it poses risks to the health and safety of patients. The BMA’s policy has not caught up with these human rights developments and ought to be changed.”
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Are mental health tribunals only a nominal challenge?

BMJ 2017; 357:j1836
Authors: Paul Gosney, Paul Lomax, Aileen O’Brien
“We read with interest Wise’s article regarding the rise in detentions under the Mental Health Act (MHA), outlining the obvious human rights concerns. What happens to people detained under the MHA once they enter hospital is rarely discussed. Their legal rights are protected by the Mental Health Review Tribunal system.”
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Terminally ill former lecturer wins right to fight assisted dying ban

The Guardian, 12 April 2017
Author: Owen Bowcott
“A terminally ill former lecturer has won the right to challenge the legal ban on assisted dying in the hope that he can end his life at home surrounded by his family. Assisted dying is prohibited by section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 and voluntary euthanasia is considered murder under English and Welsh law. The chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said the law denied terminally ill people the choice and control they deserved at the end of their lives.”
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Why Assam’s two-child policy plan is being criticised by public health experts

ScrollIn, 13 April 2017
Author: Arunabh Saikia
“India: Assam’s health minister unveiled the draft of a new population policy for the state. It proposes, among other things, to penalise people who have more than two children. If the draft were to become law, they would be ineligible for government jobs and benefits, and be barred from contesting all elections held under the aegis of the state election commission.”
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Inconsistent state laws may complicate medical decision-making

EurekAlert, 12 April 2017
Source: University of Chicago Medical Center
“A patchwork of state laws creates a labyrinth that can make it confusing to navigate incapacitated patients’ medical wishes. Without clear national standards, the problem may worsen as the nation’s 75 million baby boomers continue to age, according to medical ethics research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. On average, 40 percent of hospitalized adults can’t make their own medical decisions. In some intensive care units, that figure skyrockets to 90 percent.”
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Right-to-die case: Shrewsbury’s Noel Conway loses court bid

BBC, 30 March 2017
Source: BBC News
“A man with terminal motor neurone disease has lost a High Court bid to challenge the law on assisted dying. Mr Conway was seeking a declaration that the Suicide Act 1961 is incompatible with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998, which relates to respect for private and family life, and Article 14, which enables protection from discrimination. He had hoped to bring a judicial review that could result in terminally ill adults who meet strict criteria, making their own decisions about ending their lives.”
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Health care could be behind Canada’s longer life expectancy

BBC, 29 March 2017
Author: Robin Levinson-King
“Canadians are outliving Americans, in some cases, by as much as a decade. US patients with private insurance had a similar life expectancy as their Canadian counterparts, whereas Canadians had a 44% lower death rate than Americans on Medicaid. The uninsured fared the worst – Canadians had a 77% lower death rate than Americans who had no insurance at all. Is public healthcare the secret to longevity?”
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