AMA comments on MBA Code of Conduct
The AMA’s submission to the Medical Board of Australia on the draft revised document - Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia (2018) - has raised several concerns related to Section 2.1 Professional values and qualities of doctors, where the draft revised Code could be interpreted as coercing doctors into complying with relevant laws that are inconsistent with professionally accepted standards of medical ethics in Australia.
AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said that the document is very important for the medical profession and for patients, and that all doctors must have the opportunity and ample time to consider any changes, even minor changes, to the Code.
“It is of the utmost importance and necessity that the Board ensures all doctors are aware of these public consultations, and have sufficient time to respond, as they are the ones legally subject to the provisions of the Board’s codes and guidelines.
“We note the Board has now extended the public consultation until 17 August 2018.
“The format of the Code - both the current Code and the draft revised Code - contains a combination of clear, explicit statements intermingled with vague, ambiguous ‘motherhood’ statements.
“The clear, explicit statements provide doctors with sufficient guidance to meet the expected standards of ethical and professional conduct, but the more ambiguous statements do not, making it extremely difficult and distressing for doctors who are then unsure how to fulfil their obligations under the Code.
“It is vital that the Board gets this process right.
“A strong agreed Code will provide greater information and clarity for patients and the wider public as to what constitutes appropriate professional conduct or practice that they can accept from the medical profession,” Dr Bartone said.