Politically Correct Medicine

gagged doctorA proposed Code of Conduct, which is open for public submissions until August 3, could force doctors to accept ‘cultural beliefs and practises’ that are opposed to good medical practise, according to a group of doctors.

The Medical Board of Australia draft code of conduct that will apply to all Australian doctors requires doctors to be “culturally safe” and comply with a patients’ beliefs about gender identity and sexuality, with no provision given for a doctor to differ in their professional judgements. A doctors’ group convened by Dr Lachlan Dunjey of Perth, has expressed concern for the future of medicine in Australia in light of the changes.

“We are concerned with the possible interpretation of ‘culturally safe’, that it should not impact on good health outcomes and good medical practice”, the group has stated. “We are concerned that ‘respectful practice’ is significantly different to ‘respectful of the beliefs and cultures of others’ and that this change also could impact on good health outcomes.

“Respect for a patient does not equal respecting ‘cultural beliefs and practices’ that may be antithetical to good medical practice.”

Dr Dunjey hopes language of the 2009 Code of Conduct remains unchanged in the new version:  “‘Culturally safe’ does not necessarily equate to medically safe … ‘Respecting’ can be taken to mean agreeing with, affirming, and accepting that we cannot challenge false medical belief and inappropriate treatment.”

“To actually achieve good medical outcomes for patients, doctors have to be free to challenge difficult problems that patients might seek to avoid, such as “excess weight, excess alcohol, dangers of sexual behaviours – at the very least to tell medical truth”, he said.

Other possible areas of conflict relate to treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder, dealing with patients affected by Islamic cultural issues (such as female genital mutilation and child marriage), and with issues stemming from indigenous cultural practices, such as sub-incision and pay-back.

The other point of contention concerns access to medical care and making sure doctors do not discriminate against patients on what are described as “medically irrelevant grounds”. These guidelines include “race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or other grounds, as described in anti-discrimination legislation.”

The group has expressed concern over the addition of gender identity and sexual orientation to this list. One of the reasons for questioning this provision, Dr Dunjey says, is that the term “medically irrelevant” is not appropriate for the additional grounds.

“Gender identity is relevant in so many ways, including age, experience, psychological factors and, last but not least, any possible therapeutic intervention, both medical and surgical, with life-long outcomes and consequences. Likewise, sexual orientation is also medically relevant preventively and therapeutically with regard to past and current sexual practices.”

The group believes the wording of the 2009 version of the Code is ethically sound and should therefore not be changed.

The doctors insist that “a good health outcome is what we are about. It is intrinsic to good medicine and Good Medical Practice.”

It is also unclear whether doctors will be compelled to act contrary to their own conscience regarding patient requests for referrals. Labor MPs in Queensland, including Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, have demanded that Queensland doctors be compelled to refer women for an abortion, and thus violate the conscientious beliefs of many doctors.

What is clear is that the new guidelines will have a chilling effect on the freedom of doctors to publicly debate the merits of medical treatments. Section 2.1 of the code warns doctors,

“you need to acknowledge and consider the effect of your comments and actions outside work, including online, on your professional standing… you should acknowledge the profession’s generally accepted views… when your personal opinion differs”

The Medical Board is already bringing an Australian GP before the Medical Board for retweeting on Twitter. If the Code of Conduct is changed, this would stifle free speech and debate. The threat of deregistration would silence dissenting doctors who speak out — or even retweet — on debatable topics.

According to the Code of Conduct (1.2), “serious or repeated failure” to meet its standards may result in a doctor losing the right to practise medicine.

  • The draft Code can be accessed on the Medical Board of Australia website via this link. The public can provide written submissions by email, marked: ‘Public consultation on Good medical practice’ to medboardconsultation@ahpra.gov.au by close of business on August 3, 2018.


Darryl Budge is the Western Australia director of FamilyVoice Australia.

6 thoughts on “Politically Correct Medicine

  • Les Kovari says:

    And when it is finally promulgated, they will call it the Hypocritic Oath.

  • en passant says:

    I can just see it now:

    Doctor: “Who threw the acid in your face that blinded and disfigured you?”
    Patient: “My father because I would not marry a man 60 years older than me.”
    Doctor: “Serves you right! Let that be a lesson to you that when you finish primary school you must do as your told.”
    Patient: “I’m not allowed to go to school”
    Doctor: “Serves you right for choosing to be born into a culture that believes females and cattle have equal status. Sorry, but I cannot help you. While you are here would you like me to make a small cut that will fix your problem of liking sex?”

    Dr. Mengele would have fitted in well as a respected Board Member.

    • MattP says:

      Doctor: Wait…wait a minute, I think I can see signs of FGM.
      Patient: Yeah, it’s a cultural thing.
      Doctor: Toh, phew, that’s alright then.

      Dr. Kinsey would have fitted in well as a respected Board Member.

    • lloveday says:

      Quote: “a small cut that will fix your problem of liking sex”.
      There is much empirical evidence that it doesn’t; indeed some that it has the opposite effect. I posted a brief treatise on that on in Pickering Post, but this is not an appropriate forum.
      I will cite an observation made by another “Hot Muslim girls come from Java to work in the Sanur brothels”.
      While on the Muslim topic, much is made of the difference between the Middle Eastern and Indonesian practicing of their religion, and in particular the treatment of women by men and the violence of men in general. A factor that I have only seen raised once is the big T – testosterone. Generalising, Arabs have a “5 o’clock shadow” at 10am while Indonesian men have “bum fluff”, as we used to call it, on their chins 2 days after shaving.

  • Biggles says:

    Yet another example of a once-fine profession with high moral standards being dragged into the socialist gutter by left-wing political correctness.

  • padraic says:

    Doctors and other health professionals used to have to be registered in each State and Territory by a local Registration Board. These Boards were responsible for implementing professional standards, many of which went back to the mid-nineteenth century when such Boards were established, as well as dealing with complaints. Such standards were based on objective assessment of what it meant to be a good health professional and designed by health professionals who knew what they were doing and what their profession faced at the coal face. At one point the under-employed lawyers in State organisations like Human Rights Commissions managed to convince their leftist masters that Health Professionals were out of their depth with their quaint respect for life and decency and that they should take over some aspects of the self regulation that had worked so well for so long. Then a National Registration Board was set up, so if you registered with the new national Board you could practice in all Australian jurisdictions. Excellent idea on paper but the disasters outlined above by Daryl Budge are a sign that the professions have lost control of their own destiny to a gaggle of activist lawyers pushing the latest “progressive” cause du jour like euthanasia, global warming, gender realignment etc. As the law profession became a commercial entity rather than a professional entity after we signed the FTA with the USA in 2000 the traditional inter-professional relationship between Law and Medicine broke down as complaints became subject to money making commercial suits rather than simply the traditional less expensive way via the Boards. This resulted in health professionals having to pay monstrous professional indemnity insurance premiums which had to be passed on to the patient as higher fees. Now the same ignorant mob are trying to control the ethics of the health professions by forcing on the professions a politically correct Code of Conduct. Pathetic. No wonder the pollies are bleating about the cost of Health. It is of their own making starting from Hawke and his economists up to the present day. Hawke and his economists pushed a market driven model of health through “competition” rather than a professional standards driven model as a way of keeping health costs low, embracing the American model of healthcare. America does not have a National Health Scheme and a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme like we do, so when you replace high ethical standards with grubby competition it is a race to the bottom and the Government becomes like a giant cow getting milked for its dollars.

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