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The Medical Board of Australia provides professional guidelines in Good Medical Practice.
What are my ethical obligations and what do I need to know about mandatory reporting?
If you are worried about a colleague, yet are not sure what to do, a good first step is to ask if they are ok. The response may be easily resolved and equilibrium restored.
It can become a dilemma however if your care for a colleague feels compromised by your legal obligation to report symptoms that may be impairing a colleague’s ability to practise safely. Your duty of care extends beyond the individual to the team and to patients.
Weighing up the right thing to do is also impacted by the consequences to you of not reporting a colleague you believe is at risk.
The Medical Board of Australia also sets out your ethical obligations in Good Medical Practice: A code of conduct for doctors in Australia:
6.3.4 Taking steps to protect patients from risk posed by a colleague’s conduct, practice or ill health.
6.3.5 Taking appropriate steps to assist your colleague to receive help if you have concerns about a colleague’s performance or fitness to practise.
6.3.6 If you are not sure what to do, seeking advice from an experienced colleague, your employer, doctors’ health advisory
services, professional indemnity insurers, the Medical Board of Australia or a professional organisation.
© Doctors Health Advisory Service 2019