Sask MDs, doctors' groups critical of CPSS decision

Opinion poll shows Sask residents agree with MDs, doctors' groups

SASKATOON, June 19, 2015 /CNW/ - Larry Worthen, Executive Director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada (CMDS Canada), was critical, today, of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CPSS) adoption of a conscience policy that will put at risk the ability of Saskatchewan doctors to exercise conscience rights and, even, to practice medicine. An Abingdon Research opinion poll conducted May 20th to May 27th suggests Saskatchewan residents oppose the policy the College adopted.

Said Larry Worthen, "The conscience policy adopted by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan will seriously undercut the ability of Saskatchewan physicians and surgeons to exercise their Section 2 conscience rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. For many doctors, this policy will make the practice of medicine untenable, drive doctors away from the province and keep doctors from moving here to practice medicine."

A brief submitted to CPSS on behalf of CMDS Canada, the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies (CFCPS) and Canadian Physicians for Life (CPL) argued that the policy's requirement that physicians simply "make arrangements" with another doctor for information and provision of treatment is a formal referral that effectively makes a doctor with a conscientious objection complicit in a treatment to which the doctor objects.

But the policy goes even further. The CPSS policy would require physicians to perform procedures to which they object, calling on them to betray moral convictions. Finally, the policy forms a template for managing assisted death that will result in even more physicians' losing their Section 2, Charter conscience rights.

An Abingdon Research poll conducted May 20th-27th shows that when a patient and doctor have different views on best treatment because of the doctor's moral convictions, 47.5% of the Saskatchewan public felt that a patient could seek further advice or help from a different doctor without a formal referral, compared with 44.1% who felt the doctor should provide a formal referral. More than 53% of Saskatchewan residents felt that "nothing should happen to the doctor" who was unwilling to provide a treatment or a referral for reasons of moral conviction.

"Saskatchewan residents seem confident in their ability to seek treatment options elsewhere when they and their doctors have a difference of opinion. Saskatchewan patients are willing to respect their doctors' conscience rights. Why isn't the CPSS willing to give their own members the same respect?" added Worthen.

CMDS Canada (Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada) represents some 1600 physicians and dentists across Canada (cmdscanada.org). The Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies (canadiancatholicphysicians.com) represents groups from across Canada. Canadian Physicians for Life (physiciansforlife.ca) is the national association of pro-life physicians and provides resources and educational opportunities to thousands of physicians and medical students each year.

SOURCE Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada

For further information: Larry Worthen at 902-880-2495. Larry is available for interviews in Saskatoon until Noon, Saturday, June 20th.

RELATED LINKS
cmdscanada.org

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