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Is the National Health Service a religion?

Sandberg, Russell ORCID: 2020. Is the National Health Service a religion? Ecclesiastical Law Journal 22 (3) , pp. 343-354. 10.1017/S0956618X20000368

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During the COVID-19 lockdown the initial British Government mantra of ‘Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives’, the ritualistic weekly public clapping for the NHS and the overall tone of the media coverage led several commentators to raise the question of whether the NHS had become a religion. This question is legally significant. English law provides the right to manifest religion or belief under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of religion or belief in relation to employment and the provision of goods and services under the Equality Act 2010. This raises the point: during the lifting of lockdown when authorities require people to go back to their workplace or send their children to school, could individuals who refuse say they were legally entitled to decline on the basis that such a requirement breached their belief in protecting the NHS? This brief comment explores whether such an argument could be made.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN: 0956-618X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 28 May 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 05:49

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