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The Australian Medical Association (AMA) works to promote and advance public health and improve health care. An important part of that is maintaining high clinical and ethical standards in medical practice.

As the peak professional body of doctors in Australia, the AMA promotes and advances ethical behaviour by members of the medical profession, and seeks to protect the integrity and independence of the doctor-patient relationship.

Members agree to abide by the AMA's Code of Ethics and the Declaration of Geneva.

The Code of Ethics articulates and promotes a body of ethical principles to guide members' conduct in their relationships with patients, colleagues and society.

It has developed from similar ethical codes stretching back into history, including the Hippocratic Oath.

The Code reflects the understanding that doctors have a responsibility to improve and maintain the health of their patients who, either in a vulnerable state of illness or for the maintenance of their health, entrust themselves to medical care.

The doctor-patient relationship is itself a partnership based on mutual respect and collaboration. Within the partnership, both the doctor and the patient have rights as well as responsibilities.

Changes in society, science and the law constantly raise new ethical issues and may challenge existing ethical perspectives.