The original Hippocratic Oath by Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.) translated
Thirteen years as a practising physician, I still work by this ethos. The principals of the physician's oath has formed the backbone of modern day medical ethics, namely, respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice.
- Autonomy - patients right to choose or refuse treatment
- Beneficence - the physician should act in the best interests of the patient
- Non-maleficence - "first, do no harm"
- Justice - fairness and equality; concerns the distribution of healthcare resources
Unlike the rest of the world, the current National Health Service (NHS) system makes it easy to practice these principles - in particular the last point believe it or not. Recently, a patient from the States pointed this out to me. Whether, or more accurately, how long this will last is the $64,000 question.
Just to put this into perspective is a snap shot of the British Medical Association's (BMA's) discussion points from this week:
"Austerity, sanctions, and the rise of food banks in the UK"
Doctors are witnessing increasing numbers of patients seeking referrals to food banks in the United Kingdom.
"The NHS in Wales: faring worse than the rest of the UK?"
In these confusing times, I believe it is important to keep a level head.