1. Skip to content

National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Secular Medical Forum

The Secular Medical Forum (SMF) provides expert and professional advice and opinion to the National Secular Society (NSS) on issues related to healthcare and provides a forum for anyone interested in the intersection of healthcare and secularism.

The SMF's main objective is to advocate the value of secularism/religious neutrality as a professional standard in healthcare. The SMF welcomes supporters of all faiths and none. It opposes religious influences in healthcare where these adversely affect the manner in which medical practice is performed. It campaigns to protect patients from the harm caused by the imposition of religious values and activities on patients and challenges traditional religious privileges in healthcare service provision or decision-making.

The Secular Medical Forum was established following informal discussions at the AGM of the National Secular Society in November 2006. From 2006-16 the SMF was supported by the NSS as an independent affiliated group. In 2017 the SMF became part of the NSS.

Want to get involved?

Sign up

Join our mailing list to apply to join the forum. You'll be kept up to date with news, meetups and opportunities to contribute or volunteer.

Membership of the Secular Medical Forum is intended for healthcare professionals (including current, former and trainee professionals) and those with a particular expertise in the intersection of secularism and healthcare. All requests to join will be considered after signing up to the mailing list.


Healthcare blogs and commentary

A selection of blogs and comment pieces on healthcare and secularism. For healthcare news from the NSS, please click here.

Stop pharmacies refusing prescriptions for emergency contraception on religious grounds

Stop pharmacies refusing prescriptions for emergency contraception on religious grounds

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

With the regulator considering curtailing 'conscience' objections to contraception prescriptions, Keith Porteous Wood urges supporters to respond to the consultation in the interests of vulnerable patients.

Sister Sarah Kuteh: up steps the next so called victim of ‘Christian persecution’

Sister Sarah Kuteh: up steps the next so called victim of ‘Christian persecution’

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 by Stephen Evans

It has been another week in which we've seen Christians in the Middle East losing their lives to violence and persecution, but much media attention in the UK has instead focussed around the plight of a nurse, supposedly sacked for "offering to pray with her patients".

Forced cutting of young boys’ genitals violates the most fundamental medical ethics

Forced cutting of young boys’ genitals violates the most fundamental medical ethics

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 by Dr Antony Lempert

Too often those who carry out forced cutting of young boys' genitals escape with gentle admonishment, rather than punishment commensurate with the severity of their actions, writes Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum.

Channel 4’s Dispatches reveals intimidating tactics of US-inspired anti-abortion campaigners

Channel 4’s Dispatches reveals intimidating tactics of US-inspired anti-abortion campaigners

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 by Dr Antony Lempert

Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum reacts to Channel 4 Dispatches' programme that showed the shock tactics UK anti-abortion campaigners are importing from America.

NHS pastoral care should be a non-discriminatory service for all

NHS pastoral care should be a non-discriminatory service for all

Thu, 16 Jul 2015 by Stephen Evans

If NHS Trusts want to provide pastoral care for all, then there is no rationale for restricting the role of chaplain to those of faith, argues Stephen Evans.