Obliged to participate
- By: Faisal R Ali
In the United Kingdom, the General Medical Council affords patients the right to refuse a medical student to be involved in their care but seldom considers patients' moral duty to participate in medical education1. Increasing numbers of medical trainees; reduction in the training pool as more patients are treated privately; and the refusal of some patients to participate in medical training makes this obligation paramount if we are to protect vulnerable people in society from exploitation while maintaining high standards of training.
I will highlight my objection to the current system before considering the debate from two perspectives-using John Rawls' “veil of ignorance”2 and an analogy between taxation, tools already used to explore allocation of resources 34, and participation in medical research.5
Currently, we place the entire burden of medical education on patients who, through altruism or disempowerment, do not veto students being involved in their care. The young man