Code of Ethics

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta Are You Up to Standard?, Messenger Leave a Comment

How well do you know the CMA Code of Ethics, developed by the Canadian Medical Association and adopted by our College? As a physician, you are responsible to know and abide by the Code of Ethics in your practice.
At the top of the list of responsibilities defined in the Code is: Consider first the well-being of the patient.This simple statement offers physicians clarity: In a complex healthcare environment where team-based care is the norm, where scopes of practice are changing, where treatment options are expanding within and outside the public system, the physician must keep the best interests of the patient at the heart of every medical decision.All of the other patient-focused responsibilities in the Code – for good communication, for not exploiting or discriminating against patients, and so on – flow from this first, fundamental directive.

The Code of Ethics also defines the physician’s responsibilities to society, to the profession and to oneself.

The responsibilities of physicians are not limited to individual practice. Physicians also have roles promoting health in the wider community and participating in robust self-regulation of the medical profession. The responsibility to oneself recognizes that all the above is possible only if the physician protects his or her own health and seeks help when personal problems could get in the way of service to patients, society or the profession.

Take the time to review and consult the Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics is as relevant today as when the first edition was penned almost 150 years ago. It is a one of three cornerstones used by the College to measure the professionalism of our members (the others are the CPSA Standards of Practice and Code of Conduct), and it is a reliable and practical framework for ethical decision making in medical practice.

The Code of Ethics:

  • establishes a framework for professional behaviour and responsibilities
  • supports day-to-day decision making
  • promotes high standards of professionalism
  • provides a benchmark for self- evaluation
  • encourages discussion of ethics
  • clarifies the roles of physicians