Values – the role of doctors

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These are some views that I will bring as AMA President

I support Bertrand Russell who defined a persistent ethical basis in two parts :

1. where there is a choice that is scientific, always deal with the facts as they are rather than the facts as you wish them to be and

2. when there is a choice that is ethical, do the good thing not the bad thing. And after some reflection it is usually possible to tell which is which.

– medical practitioners should be unapologetic about our special role as the best positioned people to lead the health sector and to diagnose and treat.

– we always work closely with other professionals but our training in scientific method, and crucially the comprehensive coverage of diagnosis, pathology, basic sciences, investigation and treatment make us not just central but the best value providers of health care.

– world leading conditions for medical practitioners attract the best talent and result in better outcomes for patients. We pay top dollar for the best drugs and procedures and hospitals in the world and our society can overall afford to look after our doctors fairly. Our doctors have always subsidised the care of the needy and will continue to do so through personal sacrifice and a professional approach to billing. Doctors should get credit for responding to this expectation.

– personal autonomy should underpin our ethics in medicine and the patient always comes first. Where there are areas of dispute such as Voluntary Assisted Dying we need to respect and incorporate different views and always hold the patients right to decide and to have excellent medical care as paramount.

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