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Doctor Resigns in Ethics Attack

Saying he could "no longer remain a member of an organisation hellbent on becoming an arm of Big Government," Libertarianz health deregulation spokesman Dr Richard McGrath labelled the NZ Medical Association's new Code of Ethics a "manifesto for socialised medicine designed to make doctors unpaid advocates for state control on the supply of health care."

Resigning from the NZMA, McGrath said: "The code has eleven points, seven of which seem reasonable at first glance. However, the other four are just a blatant plug for further political interference in the practice of medicine."

McGrath went on to clarify his criticism:

Point 4 of the new code says 'Avoid exploiting the patient in any manner.' McGrath says that in actual fact "the doctor-patient relationship is one of mutual exploitation for mutual benefit. Patients exploit the knowledge doctors glean from years of study; in return, doctors exploit the fact that patients want to engage in free trade with them. There is nothing immoral about exploitation as long as no force or fraud is employed by either party.

Point 5 says 'Protect the patient's private information ... unless there are overwhelming public interest considerations at stake.' Asks McGrath: "Why not just 'protect the patient's private information' without qualification? Already, two dozen government departments can access a person's medical notes, so let's stop pretending that medical notes are able to be kept private. The Medical Association should be fighting to keep Inland Revenue and other government snoops out of the doctor-patient relationship, not pressuring doctors to break medical confidentiality because of some alleged benefit to the masses."

Point 10 talks of 'assisting the allocation of limited resources to maximise medical benefit across the community.' McGrath argues that this assumes a finite capacity for the supply of health services - what he calls "classic zero-sum economics from state-worshippers." Libertarianz says doctors should be left to meet the demand for medical care by the free exchange of their time and expertise. "This," says McGrath, "would eradicate the obscene waiting lists which seventy years of socialised medicine have not been able to address. " Point 12 tells doctors to 'accept a responsibility for advocating for adequate resourcing of medical services.' McGrath's says this means doctos are being asked to "become activists for the Labour/Alliance/Green/National axis who want to pour even more stolen money down the Vote Health rat-hole."

McGrath is clear where he stands: "This doctor says enough is enough. I am resigning from the Medical Association and I invite all free-thinking doctors to do the same, until such time as the NZMA rids itself of the Marxist baggage contained within its code of ethics. The provision of high-tech medical care, like freedom itself, should not be limited by government decree."


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