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Code of Ethics in the Practice of Medicine

Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago
Code of Ethics in the Practice
of Medicine

Physicians and Patients

Duty of Care to Patient

If a physician establishes a professional relationship with a patient then that physician has a duty of care towards the patient. The physician is obliged to do what is necessary to ensure continuity of care is maintained.

Medical Record Keeping
  • The process of record keeping is a continuous one. Information held in a physicianís records is governed by the same code of ethics as with a face to face interaction.
  • Medical records need to be maintained to a standard that ensures clarity and permits audit of care.
  • Ownership of records is held by the provider of health services. Patients however have a right of access to their records unless the information held in the records reports on an identifiable third party who has not given consent to disclosure
Medical Certificates:
  • Medical certificates are statements written by a physician or other health care provider to indicate the patientís state of health. They include a Ďsick leaveí, death certificate, certificate of fitness to work and vaccination certificate.

  • All medical certificates are legal documents. They may be used by patients to receive health benefits, or to signify that the patient will be better served by absence from work.

  • To authenticate a medical certificate, the document should be legible, include the physicianís name in block letters as well as the institutionís stamp. Information on a medical certificate should be based on the physicianís own observation and respect the patientís right to confidentiality.

  • The issuance of a false medical certificate is liable to the charge of serious professional misconduct.

Prescription and Administration of Drugs
  • A physician should take care when writing a prescription to avoid medical errors. Prescriptions should include the patientís name, age and the physicianís name and address, particularly if the dispensing pharmacist needs to contact the physician. It is the responsibility of the physician to ensure that the prescription is written in a legible manner.

  • Drugs should only be prescribed by suitably qualified physicians. Such physicians have a duty to ensure that they have sufficient knowledge of the patientís health, the appropriateness of the drug to be prescribed, its safety and effectiveness.

  • Where drugs are to be administered by physicians in training and junior physicians, these trainees must be supervised by a suitably qualified physician.

Patientís Right to Complain

  • Any patient who feels that the care provided to them was unsatisfactory has the right to complain to the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago about the physician involved.