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NZMA decries censure of Auckland doctor

NZMA MEDIA RELEASE

NZMA decries censure of Auckland doctor

The New Zealand Medical Association is dismayed at events in Auckland where a senior hospital doctor has been censured by his employer after speaking out on behalf of patients.

Doctors have an ethical obligation to advocate on behalf of their patients, says Dr Tricia Briscoe, Chairman of the NZMA. “It is alarming that a doctor has been censured for speaking out, and I hope this does not become a growing trend.

“Ethically, doctors have an obligation to achieve the best possible outcomes for their patients, and DHBs and other government agencies must accept and welcome this, instead of adopting defensive and restrictive measures.”

Dr Briscoe’s comments follow the censure of Auckland orthopaedic surgeon Bruce Twaddle by his employer after going public with his concerns about the lack of beds for orthopaedic patients in the new Auckland Hospital.

The NZMA Code of Ethics, which is accepted across the profession, explicitly states that doctors should ‘accept a responsibility for advocating for adequate resourcing of medical services’.

“Doctors working at the coalface are well placed to appreciate whether resources are being used appropriately,” Dr Briscoe said. “We all recognise that funding is limited, and we must work within these limitations, but this should not dissuade a doctor from speaking out if necessary.

“The NZMA has always publicly supported the right of doctors to speak out on behalf of their patients,” Dr Briscoe concluded.

ENDS

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