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Members’ Forum


AMACGP Chair Dr Brian Morton said the tragic death of an infant after parent who called the healthdirect 24-hour telephone helpline was mistakenly told their child’s meningitis was a short-term ‘tummy virus’ underlined long-standing concerns about such services as a substitute for GP after hours care. The incident made one reader reflect on the willingness of governments to accept good advice.

Interesting that a working group, well represented by ethically minded medical groups, was disbanded by Government, when it had the temerity to point out that misguided plans of the Government. We must be doing the right thing. Perhaps the LNP Government may shoe some faith in honest and considered advice. Here’s hoping.

Submitted by Bob Brown (not verified)

Doctors must always be prepared to provide treatment in emergency situations, regardless of whether or not this might conflict with their personal beliefs and values, the AMA has said, setting clear guides regarding the extent to which practitioners can follow the dictates of their conscience. Unsurprisingly, it is an issue that has provoked vigorous debate among readers.

Distress to the patient: what a naïve and politically correct approach to our basic rights of freedom of speech etc. So, if my choice to practice in private causes distress to my patient, then I am liable? I have a bible in my waiting room which could cause offence. Do I have to have atheist, Catholic, Protestant and Muslim books also? Or must I refrain from having private health insurance information, religious information, anti-vivisectionist, and pro- or anti-climate change info? Control of our personal practice by the PC police is coming from my own AMA now? You can have your views, but I can’t have mine. Orwellian 1984 continues.

Submitted by Anonymous  

The doctor does not practice in private, and their practice is not personal, because the patient is present. The ethical breech of not referring the patient on is the breech of abandonment. The doctor’s rights and rights to free speech are limited, because doctors practice medicine for the benefit of the patient and within society’s rules. The idea that a bible in one’s waiting room might cause offense is a straw man, to answer the commenter’s question.

Submitted by APenNameAndThatA (not verified) 

The Victorian 2008 abortion laws appear to compel doctors to actively assist women seeking abortion for any reason, be it gender selection as in Dr Hobart’s case, or other reasons which may be medically inappropriate or offend the doctor’s moral conscience, such as late term abortion. It would be also be difficult for the doctor to refuse in cases in which he suspects coercion or abuse but has no proof. The doctor is no longer able to discriminate. This is what is so wrong about this law. Of course, doctors should assist a patient’s access to treatment, but not to the point where the doctor is of the opinion the treatment may be harmful to the patient, as this law seems to do.

Submitted by Witheld