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Competency 4 – Maintaining relationship with patients: Be wary of judgemental and discriminatory behaviour

Objective: to ensure the appreciation of the professional position of the OH advisor, employer and employees

ATTITUDES

BE WARY OF JUDGEMENTAL AND DISCRIMINATORY BEHAVIOUR

BE AWARE OF PERSONAL PREFERENCES OR PREJUDICES.

Doctors have a duty to give priority to patients on the basis of clinical need, while seeking to make the best use of resources using up to date evidence about the clinical efficacy of treatments. Doctors must not allow their views about, for example, a patient’s age, disability, race, colour, culture, beliefs, sexuality, gender, lifestyle, social or economic status to prejudice the choices of treatment offered or the general standard of care provided.

Obesity is being described as a modern world disease and has been associated with prejudice and discrimination. An occupational health doctor seeing individuals at pre-employment medicals should be careful not to judge obese applicants on the basis of their size but focus on their ability to carry out the required job.

In situations where an occupational health doctor feels their personal prejudices may be affecting their advice, this needs to be explained to employees with arrangements for such individuals to be seen by another occupational health doctor. Similarly, it is unethical to refuse treatment or withhold advice because the occupational health doctor believes the employee’s actions or omissions have contributed to their condition. 

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