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NZMA support effort to end inappropriate behaviour

All Health Reporters/Chief Executives/Press Officers

FROM: Dr John Adams, NZMA Chairman

DATE: Monday, 11 February 2002

SUBJECT: NZMA supports efforts to end inappropriate behaviour

The New Zealand Medical Association wishes to reassure the public of New Zealand that the vast majority of doctors behave ethically in their interactions with patients.

"The behaviour of the small percentage who transgress sexual boundaries is absolutely unacceptable," said NZMA Chairman Dr John Adams. "Effective ways should be found to change their behaviour."

Commenting on a report into sexual boundaries in the doctor-patient relationship, released by the Medical Council, Dr Adams said the NZMA supports efforts to stamp out inappropriate sexual behaviour between doctors and patients.

"The NZMA supports continuing efforts to educate doctors about ethics, standards and professionalism.

"People need to feel confident when they visit a doctor that the relationship is appropriate and not exploitative."

Dr Adams said the issue of sexual boundaries was one that affected all health professionals, not just medical practitioners.

"Doctors are accountable under the stringent provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act. With the upcoming Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Bill, all other registered health professionals will now have to adopt similarly high standards of accountability."

"The report deals with a difficult but important subject. The fact that the medical profession is examining this issue should be applauded. The report offers an important basis for further research into this complex and difficult issue," Dr Adams said.


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