Conduct & professionalism

The standards covering conduct and professionalism set out the behaviour the Council expects of doctors. These include integrity, honesty, respect, and trust. Doctors have an ethical responsibility to ensure patient safety at all times.

These standards deal with concerns about a colleague's conduct or competence, the responsibilities that doctors in management roles have, the importance of professional conduct in a healthcare team, and the boundaries that must exist between doctors and patients. They also cover situations where there may be a conflict of interest or if a doctor's objectivity might be compromised.

  • During the course of a medical career, a doctor may be involved in management or have a leadership role. This statement outlines the standards doctors are expected to meet when they take on such roles. While doctors in a leadership role have a duty to their workplace and the wider community, their first consideration must always be the interests and safety of patients.

  • What to do when you have concerns about a colleague

    All doctors have a duty to act on their concerns about a colleague, but doctors in management roles have an extra responsibility to ensure that there are appropriate reporting procedures in place, and these procedures are known to staff who may need to use them. This statement provides guidance for doctors who are concerned about a medical colleague's conduct, performance, competence or health, and provides suggestions on what to do and who to approach.

  • Unprofessional behaviour and the health care team

    Inappropriate behaviour that adversely affects other staff members and teams from functioning effectively is unprofessional behaviour. This statement provides guidance on managing behaviour that disrupts team work, and responding appropriately to the health, competence and conduct concerns about a doctor.

  • Statement on medical certification

    Doctors are often asked to sign certificates for a wide range of purposes, such as confirming sickness, impairment or death. This statement outlines factors to consider, and the standards that doctors must follow, when issuing a medical certificate.

  • This statement outlines the doctor's responsibility to maintain professional boundaries with patients and covers the inherent power imbalance in the doctor-patient relationship, gifts, bequests and loans, other financial transactions, acting as a representative or enduring power of attorney, and social media.

  • Sexual boundaries in the doctor-patient relationship

    This statement outlines the doctor's responsibility to maintain sexual boundaries with patients, includes advice on what to do if boundaries are threatened, and offers guidance on sexual relationships with former patients and with family members of patients.

  • Doctors are often asked for input by their family and friends. This may include requests for medical advice or a prescription, or more substantial involvement such as performing a procedure. This statement explains why doctors must avoid treating themselves and those they have a close personal relationship with.

  • Doctors are sometimes asked by a third party (such as an insurance company or ACC) to carry out medical assessments of patients. This statement explains the role of non-treating doctors and the standard of care expected of doctors within an assessing relationship.

  • Doctors and health related commercial organisations

    Health related commercial organisations provide products and services for the public good, and also contribute to medical research and doctors' continuing professional development. The objectives of a commercial organisation are often different to those of a doctor, and it is possible that a doctor's interaction with a health-related commercial organisation might result in an unnecessary, inefficient, or inappropriate use of health resources, which has the potential to harm patients. This statement outlines our expectations when doctors interact with health related commercial organisations, including handling possible conflicts of interests.