The Trump Psych Debate: Is It Wrong To Say He’s Mentally Ill?

Forbes, 19 February 2017
Author: Emily Willingham
“A psychologist’s petition for mental health professionals to call for Donald Trump’s removal on the grounds of mental illness has gathered 25,000 signatures, but the ethics around when and how professionals should publicly discuss the president’s mental health may not be as clearcut as you think.”
Find article here.

Epistemic Authority and Genuine Ethical Controversies

Bioethics, 2017. doi:10.1111/bioe.12341
Author: Adam James Roberts
“In ‘Professional Hubris and its Consequences’, Eric Vogelstein claims that ‘that there are no good arguments in favor of professional organizations taking genuinely controversial positions on issues of professional ethics’. In this response, I defend two arguments in favour of organisations taking such positions: that their stance-taking may lead to better public policy, and that it may lead to better practice by medical professionals. If either of those defences succeeds, then Vogelstein’s easy path to his conclusion – that professional organisations should not take such stances – is blocked. He or others must instead look to establish that the reasons against stance-taking on genuine ethical controversies are more compelling than those for it: plausibly a more challenging task.”
Find article here.

Views on mandatory reporting of impaired health practitioners by their treating practitioners: a qualitative study from Australia

BMJ Open 2016; 6:e011988
Authors: Marie M Bismark, Ben Mathews, Jennifer M Morris, Laura A Thomas, David M Studdert
“Since 2010, health practitioners in Australia have had a legal obligation to notify the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) if they have a reasonable belief that another health practitioner has practiced while intoxicated, engaged in sexual misconduct, significantly departed from professional standards or placed the public at risk of substantial harm because of an impairment. The purpose of the legislation is to protect the public, by ensuring that practitioners practice in a competent and ethical manner. Controversially, the mandatory reporting duty extends to practitioners who provide clinical care to an impaired practitioner, such as a psychiatrist who treats an anaesthetist with a substance use disorder or a neurologist who cares for a general practitioner with dementia. Such ‘treating practitioners’ and ‘practitioner-patients’ form the focus of this study.”
Find article here.

Look Who’s Bearing The Cost Of Pharma’s Long-Time Sales And Marketing Tactics

Forbes, 26 August 2016
Author: Erika Kelton
“For decades, drug manufacturers have undertaken aggressive and sometimes illegal marketing to boost profits, even when patients’ health is at risk. The arrest of two pharma sales employees in June underscores that Big Pharma is not simply a bystander to the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic. Pharma’s no-holds-barred promotional tactics are an integral cause of this tragedy.”
Find article here.

Minimising waste in the health system

AMA, media release 21 July 2016
“The AMA today released its new Position Statement on the Doctor’s Role in Stewardship of Health Care Resources.  Doctors are important stewards of health care resources and good stewardship is an important part of ethical, best practice care. The Position Statement explains that stewardship involves avoiding or eliminating wasteful expenditure, with the aim of maximising quality of care and protecting patients from harm, while ensuring affordable care in the future. Stewardship is not rationing, which involves limiting the amount of health care a person is allowed to have because of economic reasons or scarcity of resources…”
Find release and link to full statement here.

Doctors must have key role in health financing funding

AMA, media release 21 July 2016
“The AMA today released its new Position Statement on the Role of Doctors in Stewardship of Healthcare Financing and Funding Arrangements 2016. Stewardship of health financing and funding means ensuring health funding is directed to achieving health outcomes, does not have adverse impacts or involve wasteful expenditure, and is sustainable and able to meet future needs. AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that, without the clinical stewardship perspective, there is a significant risk that health policy decisions will be driven primarily by government financing and political perspectives ahead of positive public health outcomes.”
Find release and link to full statement here.

A framework for assessing the ethics of doctors’ strikes

J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2016-103395
Author: Adam James Roberts
“The first aim of this article is to offer a framework for constructive and rigorous discussions of the ethics of doctors’ strikes, beginning with an in-principle distinction between the questions of how one should conduct oneself while working as a doctor and when and how one can suspend that work. The second is to explore how that framework applies to the contemporary British case of strikes by English junior doctors, with my suggestion being that those strikes do meet all of the criteria proposed. In closing, I gesture towards a further ethical dimension to strikes which is too often overlooked: namely, the responsibilities of employers and others not to misrepresent or demonise those doctors who are engaged in or considering taking industrial action.
Find abstract here.  See also BMJ article ‘Royal colleges welcome junior contract agreement‘.

Doctor protest in Greece boosts calls for Australian detention centre boycott

SMH, 28 March 2016
Author: Nicole Hasham
“A decision by international aid group Doctors Without Borders to pull medical care from a Greek refugee camp shows a doctor boycott of Australian detention centres would be ethically justified, a Queensland doctor says.”
Find article here.