The Australian Medical Association on 17 March 2017 published a revised Code of Ethics, which for some reason is dated 2016 despite its publication date.

The AMA announcement indicates that the updated AMA Code of Ethics for the first time addresses:

  • close personal relationships;
  • patients with impaired or limited decision-making capacity;
  • patients’ family members, carers and significant others including support persons;
  • working with colleagues including bullying and harassment;
  • working with other health care professionals;
  • supervising/mentoring; and
  • health standards, quality and safety.

The updated Code also provides greater clarity on consent; conscientious objection; complaints; control of patient information; fees; professional boundaries; managing interests; stewardship; medico-legal responsibilities; and protecting others from harm.

The Code includes the following statements:

  • Respect the right of a terminally ill patient to receive relief from pain and suffering, even where that may shorten their life.
  • Honour your obligation to pass on your professional knowledge and skills to colleagues and students, where appropriate.
  • Recognise the importance of informed financial consent, ensuring that the patient is informed of and consents to your fees prior to the medical service being provided, where possible. Where a service you provide is in conjunction with other doctors or hospitals who will charge separate fees, advise the patient of this and how they can obtain information on those separate fees.
  • Report suspected unethical or unprofessional conduct by a colleague to the appropriate authority.
  • Recognise your responsibility to assist the courts, tribunals (or similar forums) by providing informed, fair opinion based on impartial, expert evidence when reasonably called upon to do so.

 

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