Media release

New Code of Ethics for doctors

The AMA today released its new Code of Ethics, which was comprehensively reviewed in 2016 and ratified by the AMA Federal Council at its November meeting.

For the first time since 2006, the Code has been substantially revised, culminating in the Code of Ethics 2004. Editorially Revised 2006. Revised 2016.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that a Code of Ethics is essential for setting and maintaining the very high standards of ethical behaviour that society expects from the medical profession.

“The AMA's Code of Ethics incorporates the values of the profession,” Dr Gannon said.

“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.

The AMA Code of Ethics 2004. Editorially Revised 2006. Revised 2016 is at

17 March 2017

CONTACT: John Flannery                            02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761
                 Maria Hawthorne                           02 6270 5478 / 0427 209 753

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