Last week, the Ethics Council in Region Uppsala sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice where the Council dissociates itself from a proposal in the Tidö Agreement, a political agreement between four parties in the Swedish Parliament. The part of the agreement that the Ethics Council dissociates itself from is a proposed obligation for healthcare professionals to report patients who are undocumented migrants to authorities.

The Ethics Council writes that such a duty would be in conflict with both international and national conventions and laws. It is also contrary to the ethics of all professions in healthcare and would entail a serious threat to patient safety. Healthcare workers have not signed up to enforce decisions on expulsion or refusal of entry. They are assigned to, and their expertise relates to, the assessment of patients’ needs and to provide the best available care with those needs as a starting point.

In a reflection on the Swedish healthcare legislation, the Ethics Council also writes that an obligation to report undocumented migrants is contrary to the principle of human dignity. The principle states that all human beings have equal value and the same right to care. This includes everyone, regardless of whether we have a right to stay in Sweden or not.

The Chair of the Ethics Council, Niklas Juth, today publishes a post in our Swedish language version of this blog which also contains the entire letter sent to the Ministry of Justice. If you read Swedish, you can find his blog post here: Etikrådet i Region Uppsala tar avstånd från förslaget om anmälningsplikt för vårdpersonal.

Pär Segerdahl

Written by…

Pär Segerdahl, Associate Professor at the Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics and editor of the Ethics Blog.

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