04 April 2024
Principles, patients and ethics

European doctors warn of threats to independence of medical profession

The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) has published a statement highlighting increasing challenges to the independence of the medical profession reported by national medical associations across Europe. This causes a threat to doctors, patients and society as a whole if it is not safeguarded and reinforced.
Download statement

The challenges take many forms. Individual doctors have faced governmental pressure to break patient-doctor confidentiality and report names of patients seeking their care.

Financial actors without medical background or mandate are accessing the ownership and governance of medical facilities as capital investors, skewing patient care to maximise profit and restricting doctors in their clinical practice.

Organised representation of doctors voicing their opposition to government policy have faced retaliation, such as the loss of mandatory membership, dismissal of their leadership, or in the most extreme cases even imprisonment. In addition, restrictions on collective action seriously limits the ability to take industrial action.


“Our vision is that doctors can practice free from undue interference of administration, economy or insurances.  This is key to a trustworthy patient-doctor relationship. Clinical independence allows doctors to act in a patient’s best interest and is balanced by accountability for a decision.”

“We believe that the independence of the medical profession strengthens democracy. As a profession we need to stand together to identify and oppose threats to safeguard the best possible patient care.”

Image: iStock / wildpixel

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