Dealing with ethics in a multicultural world
We are constantly reminded of the wide rang. ing convictions and customs of our patients in modern day Britain. It is now home to an ethnic minority community that exceeds three million, and these cultural norms may impact on healthcare provision in many ways.12 Most societies now exhibit cultural pluralism. But the majority of the human race has always believed in and continues to believe in universal ethical principles. In spite of their areas of disagreement, religious and rational fundamentalists can and must agree that freedom of belief and tolerance of the beliefs of others are essential first principles.
With rapid advances in transportation and communication, there is every possibility that our appreciation of the enormous heterogeneity of human beliefs and practices will increase even further. Death practices, for example, vary considerably between cultures. Prescribed rituals of disposing of the deceased range from burial in the Semitic faiths,34 to cremation