The latest version of Good medical practice: a code of conduct for doctors in Australia aims to provide clearer instructions and better explanations to healthcare practitioners of expected professional standards without introducing drastic changes.
The guidelines apply in all settings and they are pertinent for:
- technology-based patient consultations (including online/remote prescribing)
- traditional face-to-face consultations and social media use by doctors.
- Sections 5.4 and 10.4: Strengthened advice about discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment and vexatious complaints
- Sections 4.7 and 4.8: Cultural safety and culturally safe practice, including a new definition agreed across the National Scheme
- Increased guidance on patient safety and clinical governance
- Section 9.3 New section on career transitions for doctors
- Section 2.2 Clearer expectations on professionalism and doctors making public comment
- Extended section on access to care and conscientious objection
New section 10.4 Vexatious complaints
In an effort to identify, reduce and manage vexatious complaints, the updated Code of conduct acknowledges that these remarks lack substance and often have other motivations.
Healthcare practitioners are advised to:
- Raise genuine concerns about risks to patient safety to the appropriate authority (locally and/or the Medical Board).
- Comply with mandatory reporting requirements.
- Refrain from making vexatious complaints about other health practitioners.
New section 9.3 Career transitions
The MBA acknowledge that health practitioners may change roles and make different career transitions over the span of their working life. Good medical practice for doctors who change their scope of practice involves:
- Recognising that professional performance may be impacted by multiple factors (increasing age, practice context)
- Remaining watchful of how these factors may affect their professional performance.
- Actively planning any career transition to different roles or retirement.