New Code of Ethics for Doctors

6 Apr 2017

The AMA has released its new Code of Ethics, which for the first time since 2006, has been substantially revised, culminating in the Code of Ethics 2004. Editorially Revised 2006. AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said that a Code of Ethics was essential for setting and maintaining the very high standards of ethical behaviour that society expects from the medical profession.

“The AMA is the peak body representing all Australian doctors. Its Code articulates and promotes a body of ethical principles to guide doctors' conduct in their relationships with patients, colleagues, and society.

“While the primary duty of doctors is to serve the health needs of individual patients, they have additional, and occasionally competing, duties in relation to other patients, patients' family members and carers, colleagues and other health care professionals, the wider health system, and public health.

“The AMA places a very high priority on its Code of Ethics, and encourages all doctors to observe its values and principles,” Dr Gannon said.

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.

AMA Code of Ethics 2004. Editorially Revised 2006. Revised 2016