A warning that the age old physician-patient relationship is under threat, has come from the World Medical Association.
In a new policy statement, adopted at its virtual annual Assembly this week, the WMA says that the relationship, which dates back to the origins of medicine, is facing threats from the increased technology of medicine, leading to a mechanistic view of health care, neglecting human considerations. It says the focus on the economic aspects of medical care poses difficulties in establishing genuine relationships of trust between the physician and the patient and this risks alienating physicians from their patients.
Now the WMA is calling on all its national medical association members to defend, protect and strengthen the patient-physician-relationship as the basis of high-quality care, mutual respect and trust.
WMA President Dr. David Barbe said: ‘The medical profession must defend this invaluable relationship with patients as part of patient centred care, and its values and principles. We must all be aware of the emerging challenges which pose a threat to the patient-physician relationship, or the physician-patient relationship as it is known in some parts of the world. We must reaffirm our opposition to undue interference by governments and other agents in the practice of medicine, alienating physicians from their patients. Professional autonomy and clinical independence are core elements of medical professionalism.’
The policy statement adopted by the virtual Assembly was entitled the Declaration of Cordoba, after the Spanish city where the meeting was to have been held before the pandemic closed down in-person conferences.