World Medical Association launches on line Medical Ethics Course for Physicians

A new online medical ethics course has been launched by the World Medical Association. Provided in cooperation with the Norwegian Medical Association, the course is designed primarily for physicians, but can be undertaken by any health professionals.

The course is free of charge and when a physician has finished it he or she will receive a course diploma.

The WMA already runs an online course on human rights and ethical dilemmas for doctors working in prison. In the three years since it was launched more than 100 physicians have undertaken the course.

The new ethics course has been written by John Williams, the WMA's former Director of Ethics, who said that after working through the course, a physician should be able to understand the role of ethics in medicine, recognize ethical issues when they arise in their practice and deal with these issues in a systematic manner.

The course covers issues such as the patient-physician relationship, including beginning and end-of-life issues, the relationship between physicians and society, how physicians relate to other physicians, to medical students, and to other health care providers, and the basic ethical requirements for medical research involving human subjects.

Dr Edward Hill, chair of the WMA, said: 'The pace at which modern medicine is developing has meant that medical ethics has become more and more complex. This web based course is designed to prepare physicians to face these increasingly difficult issues in their day to day practice.'

The course, which is accessible from or, is accredited by the Norwegian Medical Association with eight hours/points in post-graduate and continuing education.