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Mandating doctors to attend counter-terrorism workshops is medically unethical

  • Derek Summerfield (a1)
Summary

This is a brief exploration of the ethical issues raised for psychiatrists, and for universities, schools and wider society, by the demand that they attend mandatory training as part of the UK government's Prevent counter-terrorism strategy. The silence on this matter to date on the part of the General Medical Council, medical Royal Colleges, and the British Medical Association is a failure of ethical leadership. There is also a civil liberties issue, reminiscent of the McCarthyism of 1950s USA. We should refuse to attend.

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Copyright
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to Derek Summerfield (derek.summerfield@slam.nhs.uk)
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Declaration of interests

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Department of Health. Building Partnerships, Staying Safe: The Health Sector Contribution to HM Government's Prevent Strategy: Guidance for Healthcare Organisations. Department of Health, 2011. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-partnerships-staying-safe-guidance-for-healthcare-organisations (accessed 13 January 2016).
2 Mohammed, J, Siddiqui, A. The Prevent Strategy: A Cradle TO Grave Police-State. CAGE, 2013.
3 Baroness Lister, R, Armstrong, K, Hillyard, P, Ramadan, T, Ansari, H, Miller, D, et al. PREVENT will have a chilling effect on open debate, free speech and political dissent. The Independent, 2015; 10 Jul. Available at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/prevent-will-have-a-chilling-effect-on-open-debate-free-speech-and-political-dissent-10381491.html (accessed 13 January 2016).
4 US Department of Homeland Security. Countering Violent Extremism. US Department of Homeland Security, 2015. Available at http://www.dhs.gov/topic/countering-violent-extremism (accessed 26 January 2016).
5 Grice, A. Corbyn – and most Brits – think Iraq war made us less safe. i, 21 November 2015: 5.
6 Baker, L, Roche, A. Iraqi conflict has killed a million Iraqis: survey. Reuters, 30 January 2008. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-deaths-survey-idUSL3048857920080130 (accessed 13 January 2016).
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 2056-4694
  • EISSN: 2056-4708
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Mandating doctors to attend counter-terrorism workshops is medically unethical

  • Derek Summerfield (a1)
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