Ethical principles becoming statutory requirements

Published in: South African Family Practice
Volume 50, issue 5, 2008 , pages: 36–40
DOI: 10.1080/20786204.2008.10873757
Author(s): H OosthuizenDepartment of Criminal and Medical Law,, T VerschoorDepartment of Criminal and Medical Law,


Medical practitioners in the past mainly relied on ethical guidelines of the Health Professions Council of South Africa, international codes, declarations and common ethical principles as guidance to practice. In the past twelve years several pieces of legislation have been promulgated which totally changed this situation. Important issues in medicine such as the way in which medical treatment and or services are rendered, the privacy of a patient, the confidentiality of patients' information, the patient's right to self-determination and the informed consent of a patient are now all influenced and regulated by statutes. It is thus very important that the training programmes of medical schools and the further training of medical practitioners makes provision for the inclusion of the study of human rights issues, medical law and bio-ethics.

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