Medical practitioners here will now be required to adhere to more than just the Hippocratic Oath, which requires them to uphold specific ethical standards, with the launch by the Barbados Medical Council of a new code of conduct.
Sexual harassment, confidentiality and refusal of treatment are among hot button issues covered in the extensive document, unveiled Tuesday morning at the Ministry of Health headquarters at Culloden Road, St Michael.
In his remarks during the launch, Minister of Health John Boyce described the initiative as a “significant milestone in the management of health care provision” here.
“The code of conduct will serve as a framework for ethical decision-making within the council and it will also serve as a communication tool that indicates to internal and external stakeholders, a coming of age of the Barbados Medical Council,” Boyce said.
He added that the code removed the guesswork in determining what actions medical practitioners ought to be held accountable for.
“It is important that medical practitioners are informed of the expectations of their governing body and that they are informed of acceptable behaviours. Medical practitioners must also be held accountable for their actions. A standard of conduct acceptable to the Medical Council, the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners, the University of the West Indies and the wider public must be maintained by practicing physicians,” the minister stressed.
Boyce expressed a wish to have similar codes of conduct for all departments of health care, such as nursing and those treating the disabled.
“I will like to see more documents of this kind governing the conduct of providers and recipients of health care in Barbados. For example a code of conduct for nursing care in Barbados and a code of conduct for paramedical disciplines which complement our health care,” he told the gathering.