Turkish Government urged to Restore Powers to Medical Association

(28.04.2012) The Turkish Government has been urged by the World Medical Association to restore to the Turkish Medical Association the responsibilities for professional autonomy and self-regulation that it recently took from them.

WMA Council members, meeting in Prague, said they were extremely concerned by the Turkish Government's action to reduce drastically the self-governing powers of the medical association given to it by the Turkish Parliament in 1953.

The Council called on all physician members of the Turkish Parliament to remember their duties as physician leaders and to support the right of the medical profession to autonomy and self-regulation. And it commended the Turkish Medical Association and those members of the Turkish Parliament who had challenged their Government.

The meeting in Prague heard a plea for help from Turkish physician delegates to the WMA. They said that as a result of their Government's decree their medical association no longer had the authority to establish and issue ethical guidelines for physicians, conduct investigations about alleged malpractice by physicians, determine disciplinary sanctions against physicians or develop core curricula for medical education, post-graduate medical education.

They were particularly concerned that the Government had removed from the medical association's mandate the words to ensure "that the medical profession is practiced and promoted in line with public and individual well-being and benefit". As a result of this, the association could no longer challenge actions that adversely affected the right to health, the provision of health care, public health, and individual patient well-being. This diminished the independence of physicians, as well as the health of their patients.

Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal, Chair of the WMA, ‘We are gravely concerned about the action of the Turkish Government and today the WMA is expressing its strong support for the Turkish Medical Association by reaffirming its unequivocal commitment to the independence and professional self-governance of the medical profession.

‘We are also calling on all our national medical association members and all physicians in Turkey and around the world to join actively in promoting and supporting professional independence, the right to health, and the health of the people of Turkey.'