BIMA Statement on the RCP Assisted Suicide Poll

We at the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) recognise there are challenging dilemmas facing patients, their families, and their physicians at the end of life. However, we are opposed to the concept of assisted suicide. The recent efforts to change the Royal College of Physician’s stance from one of opposition to one of neutrality are troubling, and we are concerned about the many implications that this will have on doctors, their patients, and a relationship that has always been predicated on “first do no harm.”

As Muslims, we inherently believe in the sanctity of life. Even in the most difficult of circumstances, we feel that the focus should be on better pain relief, communities coming together and supporting the sick, investing in research for cures, and supporting our world-leading palliative care services. As God says in the Quran: “Do not kill yourselves, for verily God has been to you most merciful” (Quran 4:29). The opposition to assisted suicide is a position that has unanimous consensus from Islamic scholars and jurists across the globe.

Any shift away from the current stance of professional opposition to assisted suicide may have far-reaching consequences for patients and healthcare professionals, especially those who are opposed to it on the grounds of their faith or conscience. Questions remain as to what neutrality actually means in practice, and how patient trust in physicians who may ‘treat’ them with death will be maintained. In an increasingly austere environment, we are concerned that the narrative will paint those who are made vulnerable by ill health as burdens on their families and taxpayers, pressurising them to take this route.

For these reasons and many more, we strongly and respectfully oppose attempts by professional associations to change their current stance of opposition to assisted suicide.

It is our duty as professionals to speak in the interests of our patients, even if it goes against prevailing and evolving norms. We must continue to safeguard the interests of patients, healthcare professionals and the community as a whole. BIMA is working with an alliance of faith and civic bodies to articulate our strength of feeling on this issue, and lobby our representatives to this end.

ENDS

Notes

[1] The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) recently held a poll for its 35,000 members on assisted dying. It was framed in an unusual way, requiring a supra-majority vote of 60% – an unprecedented move from the RCP Council which was a marked changed from previous polls on the issue.

[2] The RCP defines assisted dying as: “The supply by a doctor of a lethal dose of drugs to a patient who is terminally ill, meets certain criteria that will be defined by law, and who requests those drugs in order that they might be used by the person concerned to end their life.”

[3] The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) is the national organisation for Muslim healthcare professionals in Britain, aiming to unite and inspire members to serve patients and professions. Visit www.britishima.org for more information or see their social media channels at www.facebook.com/britishima or www.twitter.com/britishima.

BIMA statement on the Government’s proposed “opt-out” system for organ donation after death in the United Kingdom

 

Opinions within the Muslim community

There are a range of opinions present within the Muslim community as to the permissibility of organ donation after death. While there is evidence that a majority of Islamic scholars and Muslim health care professionals are proponents for it (with varying conditions needing to be satisfied), there is unfortunately relatively little clear evidence on how an “opt-out” system would influence or change these views.

The reality is that the Muslim scholarly, Muslim healthcare and general Muslim community are not homogenous. Therefore, we are likely to encounter a range of opinions for a variety of reasons. For example, there are those who are in favour of organ donation after death, but are concerned by the lack of express consent inherent in an opt-out system. Also, we cannot overstate the desire to expedite burial as a perceived practical reason to opt out of organ donation. Finally, it is likely that personal and non-religious cultural factors will be as influential as religious motivation when it comes to this sensitive issue for the bereaved.

BIMA has previously and is also currently running various seminars and workshops to address and facilitate this discussion. There is certainly an appetite within the Muslim community to engage with this process. This will require sustained engagement in order to achieve whatever outcome the community feels is correct.

 

In summary:

The Government should be commended for taking proactive steps to increase the number of available organs available to those who need it most. We are acutely aware that ethnic minorities tend to be under-represented when it comes to donation but are over-represented when it comes to needing organ donation. However, there is concern that legislating an opt-out system without education and engagement may have adverse and unintended consequences. We would recommend taking the following measures to help mitigate for these potentialities.

 

Recommendations for:

 

The Government:

1. To help launch an education and awareness campaign for the Muslim community in their places of congregation (e.g. mosques) and in their native languages (e.g. Bengali, Somali, etc.).

2. To allow flexibility for those who object to their relatives organs being donated on religious grounds.

3. To engage with Muslim healthcare professionals and Islamic scholars to help address caveats/concerns around organ donation.

4. To ensure a holistic and sensitive approach to this matter and prevent vilification of any particular community.

 

The Medical community:

1. To organise and participate in more “outreach” sessions and public health campaigns on organ donation, particularly within ethnic minority communities where there may be a shortage of organ donors.

2. To highlight the possibility of organ donation to patients / family members at an early stage so that they can make an informed choice.

3. To respect the views of those who still refuse to donate their / their relatives’ organs.

 

The Muslim community:

1. For the range of Islamic scholars, Islamic organisations and Islamic medical associations to provide clear guidance on this to the Muslim public.

2. To invite healthcare professionals to their mosques / places of congregation to speak to them about organ donation and its benefits as well as address any concerns.

3. To make an informed and documented choice at an early stage to prevent difficulties later on.

 

BIMA statement regarding the erasure of Dr Bawa-Garba from the Medical Register

 

The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) is compelled to add its voice to the growing body of concern regarding the prosecution and erasure of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, following the tragic death of Jack Adcock in 2011.

We extend our heartfelt sympathies to Jack’s parents who have suffered an unimaginable loss and we respect the legal process and the General Medical Council’s (GMC) role in protecting the public. However, the process of reducing a series of complex, systemic failures involving many institutions and individuals to a single trainee is concerning.

We are concerned that the entire case will have unintended consequences that will adversely impact patient safety, healthcare training and morale. We call on our members and all stakeholders to engage with the British Medical Association (BMA), Health Education England (HEE), the GMC and others to address the many concerns raised by this case.

[Ends]

Reflection – Salah

Working in healthcare is hectic. Patients and administrative tasks, among other things, occupy a substantial amount of our time. At times these duties seem to be never-ending, and as a result we may miss praying our Salah (prayers) in the appropriate time.

Salah is an important part of a Muslim’s daily routine. It helps us take a break from what can seem like a rat race, and allows us to remember Allah, the ultimate bestower of all our successes. As His creation we have a duty to remember and praise Him, and to realise that Salah acts as a medium to directly communicate with our Creator, seeking His forgiveness and asking for His blessings.

Take care to do your prayers, praying in the best way, and stand before God in devotion.” [2:238]

As our lives become busier, it can appear difficult to juggle our duties to our Lord as well our patients, but it is of the utmost importance as Muslims to tend to, alongside our patients and administrative tasks, our spiritual needs and the purification of our hearts.

August News & Views

An article this month in the journal Developing World Bioethics argues against the prohibition of surrogacy by many Islamic scholars, challenging the arguments against surrogacy which include concerns over gene mixing and the involvement of a third party.

Read “Reexamining the Prohibition of Gestational Surrogacy in Sunni Islam” here

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A study in the journal Religions exploring the problem of OCD washing subtype (repeating Wudu several times) suggests an increase in awareness by Imams of OCD symptoms and signposting for professional psychiatric help, since the patients interviewed for the study recognised the importance of the Imam being the first point of contact in dealing with religious obsessions.

Read “Exploring Professional Help Seeking in Practicing Muslim Women with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Washing Subtype in Australia” here

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We are always looking for relevant articles and news to include in our monthly newsletter. Please send any items to info@britishima.org

August Events Roundup

1. In preparation for Lifesavers 2017, regional training days were held in 8 locations around the country, with an attendance of over 120 mosque leads & volunteers. More on the list of 60+ mosques involved in delivering Lifesavers involved here.

2. BIMA East Midlands held a well-received social in Leicester, giving local Muslim healthcare professionals a chance to network and enjoy some fantastic Turkish food.

July News & Views

Firstly this month, a study in the Journal of Religion and Health identifies the different trust issues among American Muslims regarding their attitudes and behaviours towards healthcare, which could help healthcare professionals (and others involved in designing health intervention programs) gain the trust of the Muslim patient population.

Read “The Types of Trust Involved in American Muslim Healthcare Decisions” here

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A review paper in the Annals of General Psychiatry outlines the history of psychiatry in the Islamic world (both in the past and the present) and summarises different aspects of forensic psychiatry in the Shari’a and compares them with ancient Greek and modern European law.

Read “Islam, mental health and law: a general overview” here

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We are always looking for relevant articles and news to include in our monthly newsletter. Please send any items to info@britishima.org

July Events Roundup

1. BIMA Trainees organised the the national FY1 Induction event took place on Saturday 22nd July nationwide in 4 locations- London, Birmingham, Leicester and for the first time in Leeds, Yorkshire. The event was a huge success with over 150 signups nationwide.

2. BIMA sent 12 delegates from all over the UK to attend the Federation of Islamic Medical Association’s (FIMA) Youth Summer Camp 2017 in Istanbul, a week-long program of camp activities, educational seminars, project development sessions, networking, and a tour of Istanbul. BIMA’s President also attended the FIMA Annual Congress and Council Meeting, and the main headline was an address by President Erdogan of Turkey.

3. BIMA North East organised a talk with Dr Arif Moothadeth, consultant in occupational medicine, in association with Newcastle Central Mosque on coping with traumatic eventsafter the recent freak accident outside the mosque on Eid day, during which local healthcare professionals helped look after those injured.

4. BIMA Professional Development organised a webinar with Dr Deen Mirza, a GP and self-help author for GPs, on avoiding diagnostic errors and medical mistakes in general practice.

 

BIMA delegates at FIMA’s Youth Summer Camp 2017  (above) and attendees at the BIMA FY1 Induction (below)

June News & Views

Firstly this month, a study in the journal Aging & Mental Health examining the association between refugee mental health, past traumatic experiences, and religious observance found that refugees with a higher level of religiousness did not show higher levels of PTSD after exposure to war trauma compared to those with a lower level. The authors argue that religious observance provides a buffering effect to refugees’ mental health from severe war trauma.

Read “Mental health among older refugees: the role of trauma, discrimination, and religiousness” here

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The Born In Bradford cohort study is an ongoing study following 12,500 pregnant women and their children recruited over a 3 year period from 2007 to 2010 at Bradford Royal Infirmary. A study this month in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health used the data from this study found that infants conceived by Muslim mothers fasting during Ramadan were not significantly smaller than infants conceived by Muslim mothers outside of Ramadan.

Similarly, there was no difference between the two groups in premature birth rates. From the results, the authors conclude that “Muslim women and their partners can be advised by doctors that Ramadan fasting around the time of conception appears unlikely to have a detrimental effect on the size of their infant at birth or result in premature birth.”

Read “Are babies conceived during Ramadan born smaller and sooner than babies conceived at other times of the year?” here

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And finally, a review published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canadaexplored the preference of female obstetricians/gynaecologists among immigrant women.

The identified reasons for preference of female providers include religious beliefs, modesty, and comfort. The review also briefly discusses the Islamic factors Muslim patients consider when preferring gender-concordant care such as ‘awrah (modesty) and khalwah (close proximity).

Read “Gender of Provider – Barrier to Immigrant Women’s Obstetrical Care” here

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We are always looking for relevant articles and news to include in our monthly newsletter. Please send any items to info@britishima.org

June Events Roundup

1. Shaykh Dr. Rafaqat Rashid hosted a Ramadan webinar discussing the medical and spiritual benefits of Ramadan, while Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera hosted another webinar later in Ramadan on maximising one’s time in Ramadan.

2. Our team in the North East hosted an iftaar in Newcastle. Attendees had the opportunity to network with fellow Muslim healthcare professionals and students, and we look forward to bringing more of our activities to the North East.

 

Attendees at our North East iftaar

F1 Induction Event 2017

 

The highly successful ‘BIMA F1 induction’ event is back! This year, our events will take place on Saturday 22 July from 11am – 3.30pm in the Midlands, London, North West and South West!

Delivered by current foundation doctors who have excelled through training, this is a must for all newly-qualified doctors about to start work this August. The event will make you feel more confident about starting work and hopefully enable you to sail through your F1 year!

  • What will be covered?
  • Top tips NO ONE else will tell you!
  • How to conduct the perfect ward round
  • How to own your on-calls! The most common bleeps
  • The Eportfolio and passing the ARCP with flying colours
  • Career tips to get you ahead of the career ladder
  • Islamic advice: how to deal with issues which may affect you in the workplace. How to maintain your Imaan whilst working in a busy job.
  • Update on our hijab and elbow policy.

All this for only £5!

Food will be served. Book your place below:

 

 

 

Ramadan Webinar 2017 Video

 

Learn about basic laws of fasting, the spiritual and physical benefits of Ramadan, and a chance to ask questions with the speaker.

Dr Shaykh Rafaqat Rashid is a traditional Muslim scholar, GP and professional trainer and educator. He is an academic in the field of Islamic medical ethics and medical law, and is also a honorary lecturer at the University of Leeds.

 

May News & Views

Firstly this month, a study published in the BMJ Open Diabetes explored the behaviour of patients with type 2 diabetes that chose to fast during Ramadan.

Through a series of interviews, the research team in Malaysia found that, among the sample of 53 patients studied, only one patient consulted a doctor before implementing a drug regimen change, which the authors state might be due to, among other reasons, a ‘perceived lack of understanding from doctors’.

Educating healthcare professionals around the UK on Muslim patients and Ramadan has been the mission of BIMA’s Ramadan Initiative project, which you can find out more about here.

Read “Type 2 diabetes patient’s perspective on Ramadan fasting: a qualitative study” here

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Annually, around 25,000 British Muslims head to Mecca to perform the Hajj, and some will inevitably be exposed to infectious diseases as a result of the profusion of pilgrims during the Hajj.

A study in the Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy set out to evaluate pilgrims’ knowledge surrounding the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that could become epidemic during the Hajj season, and found that more needs to be done about educating pilgrims on recognising symptoms of MERS-CoV and expectations of its treatment (i.e. antibiotics cannot treat a MERS-CoV infecction).

Read “Muslim pilgrims’ knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding MERS-CoV during Hajj season” here

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We are always looking for relevant articles and news to include in our monthly newsletter. Please send any items to info@britishima.org

May Events Roundup

In preparation for Ramadan, our teams across the UK held Safer Ramadan sessions to improve the general public’s understanding on fasting in Ramadan with diabetes. This was an opportunity for attendees to take part in an interactive discussions on this important condition just before Ramadan.

14 sessions were held in the North West, 4 sessions in the East Midlands, and a session at Glasgow Central Mosque. We would like to thank all the health care professionals who have facilitated these sessions and for all those attending these sessions.

 

Attendees at our Safer Ramadan sessions

Ramadan Webinar

Join us for BIMA Professional Development team’s first Ramadan reminders webinar, discussing the medical and spiritual benefits of Ramadan as well as the essential Fiqh rulings surrounding the month.

The webinar will be delivered by Shaykh Dr Rafaqat Rashid, a traditional Muslim scholar, GP and professional trainer and educator. He is an honorary lecturer at the University of Leeds and an academic in the field of Islamic medical ethics and medical law.

Shaykh Rafaqat has been taught advanced Islamic disciplines by a number of scholars and has been issued ijaazah by a number of traditional scholars nationally and internationally.

After registration you will receive a confirmation email with information on joining the webinar.

 

 

Ramadan Initiative 2017

In collaboration with

The Ramadan Initiative is one of BIMA’s many successful community projects.

The project’s aim is to increase awareness amongst healthcare professionals on safe and effective prescribing for Muslim patients who fast during Ramadan.

Our team of consultants, GPs and pharmacists have developed Powerpoint presentations (for hospital or GP settings) for teachers to deliver across the whole country in the weeks leading up to and during Ramadan.

We currently have over 70 teachers signed up this year, ranging from medical student to consultant level, and spreading from the South West all the way up to Scotland.

We have uploaded onto Dropbox all the relevant resources that will help you prepare and effectively deliver a teaching session, which you can access here

 

Ramadan Initiative 2017 Dropbox

This content is a compilation of varied resources and does not necessarily represent the views of BIMA