51st Annual General Assembly Of The World Medical Association

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The 51st annual General Assembly of the World Medical Association was held in Tel Aviv, Israel from October 13 to 17 and the following debates were held:

Declaration Of Helsinki

The meeting heard of widespread support for retaining the existing structure of the Declaration of Helsinki. It was agreed that the working group set up to consider amendments to the Declaration should report back with a proposed revision at next year's annual General Assembly meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland (3 October 2000).

National Health Databases

The meeting debated the issue of national health databases in the light of developments in Iceland. The Secretary General reported on his recent visit to Iceland and the WMA's intention to continue talking to all parties involved. The WMA has decided to hold a special conference next year on central health databases and their implications for confidentiality of patient information and informed consent. The conference will consider the structure and design of such databases and develop more comprehensive policy on this issue.

Autonomy Of Physicians

A proposed Statement is being circulated to national medical associations for comment, looking at the increased and unrealistic expectations and demands from patients and the widening gap between the possible and the affordable. It examines the role of physicians in reaching ethical decisions while being asked to comply with administrative or economic requirements.

Teaching Of Medical Ethics

A resolution was passed recommending to all medical schools that the teaching of medical ethics and human rights be included as obligatory courses in their curricula.

New President Elect

Dr E. Tsuboi, president of the Japan Medical Association, was elected to become president of the WMA for 2000/1.

New Members

Applications to join the WMA from the Fiji Medical Association, the Slovak Medical Association and the Brazilian Medical Association were accepted.