Ethics

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Introduction to the non-therapeutic male circumcision toolkit

As a doctor, you may be asked to refer a child for non-therapeutic male circumcision or to carry out circumcision yourself. This toolkit provides you with practical guidance, including the professional standards expected of you and good practice guidelines and safeguards that are relevant to the UK.

As with other procedures involving children who lack the capacity to consent, this toolkit makes clear that those wishing to authorise the procedure need to demonstrate that it is in the child’s best interests. It helps you to think about the type of factors that might be relevant in an assessment of ‘best interests’ in this context. 

The 12 pages cover specific areas such as the law, determining best interests, consent and refusal, disputes and record-keeping.

You can use each page alone, although there are some areas of overlap. The toolkit points you to useful guidance from other bodies such as the GMC and the CQC.

The toolkit is not intended to be a comprehensive detailed reflection on all the international and UK debates on the issue of non-therapeutic male circumcision, or to take an ethical position itself within this debate. Rather, it is a practical resource to assist doctors who may have some level of involvement with the procedure.

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