Richard Colman: Problems with GMC Guidance on Male Circumcision

GP Magazine (UK), 18 July 1997.


Dear Editor

Whilst Lotte Newman may enthusiastically endorse the GMC's guidelines on circumcision, I did not and will not, unless the advice is preceded by paragraphs of explanation.

The medical profession has become involved in circumcision through benevolence and good faith. However, now that evidence is accumulating that it is not a harmless procedure, it is right and proper that we should question medical involvement and signal a view that we are less than happy with being asked to be the instrument of a faith (or state for that matter) against the interests of an individual.

Whilst it would be unrealistic to expect all medical involvement in ritual circumcision to stop overnight, we should not hide the facts from people and should instead encourage debate.

The preamble to this guidance should reflect this concern, encourage debate, and signal a determination to review our involvement in the light of developments."

Dr. Richard Colman
GMC member, York [UK]

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