The Code of ethics of physicians is a set of rules, principles and practices that all physicians, medical residents and students must observe, the transgression of which may be penalized by the imposition of disciplinary measures. The Code of ethics of physicians is currently under review. This section deals with the spirit of the Code, its broad themes and certain sections touching on present-day problems.
The Code of ethics of physicians governs the everyday practice of medicine in both the private and public sectors. It was not conceived to take away the physician’s obligation to think independently, but to facilitate the thinking process by specifying the responsibilities and obligations now considered by members of the profession to be essential to the appropriate practice of medicine.
The Code takes into account relevant provisions in other pieces of legislation in force in Québec, notably the Professional Code, the Youth Protection Act and the Public Health Act. It also responds to recent debates on bioethics in the medical research field and elsewhere. It defines the general obligations of physicians, namely their obligations toward the patient, the public and the profession. And since the relationship between physician and patient is built on competence and mutual trust, the Code recognizes that knowledge-based skills must co-exist with interpersonal skills. It also underlines the rights of individuals who interact with physicians.
The Code of ethics of physicians comprises more than one hundred sections. The first of these establish the universal scope of the document, whereas the others cite the general obligations of physicians as well as their professional obligations, which are listed by topic.