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Firearms

February 2019 update

The GPC has published updated guidance to practices. The guidance provides more definitive advice on conscientious objection, flagging records and responses to initial requests for a report. It is clearly stated in the guidance that conscientious objections are not required to arrange for alternative provision of a report but they may wish to do so.

While the BMA supports the principle of flagging and reminds doctors of their duty of care to the public to raise concerns where they are apparent, they are keen stress that due to the imprecise nature of flags, the lack of clear protocols for their appropriate removal and the absence of reliable software to facilitate the surveillance and cross-referencing of flags with diagnoses of concern, that they continue to have concerns about the flagging process and will continue to work with the Home Office to resolve this pressing question.

The BMA views conscientious objectors are not required to arrange for alternative provision of a report. Where access to a firearm is a professional requirement – such as for gamekeepers and farmers – they would nonetheless encourage doctors to assist applicants in identifying a suitable colleague willing to engage in the firearms certification process.

It remains clear, as in previous guidance that GPs should respond to the police regardless of their stance on the new system and that replying or delaying their response puts them at clinical risk. 5 sample letters are provided to assist GPs responding to initial request for reports, ‘depending on a GPs professional and/or ethical position’.

Refusal to provide a report

  • Refusal due to conscientious objection
  • Refusal due to request seeking an opinion on matters outside a GPs medical expertise

Agreement to provide a report

  • Agreement to provide report requested- awaiting payment from patient
  • Agreement to provide a summary limited to medical facts- awaiting payment from patient
  • Agreement to provide report- no fee to patient- report enclosed with reply letter.

https://www.bma.org.uk/advice/employment/ethics/ethics-a-to-z/firearms

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10831BMA New Firearms Guidance March 2017
Type: docx, 0B, added 10 months ago
10830BMA Update March 2017
Type: docx, 0B, added 10 months ago

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