The Declaration of Geneva and doctors’ well being


On 14 October 2017 the World Medical Association (WMA) updated the Declaration of Geneva to include the clause, “I will attend my own health, well-being, and abilities to provide care of the highest standard.”

The Declaration was first adopted by the WMA at its second General Assembly in 1948 and clearly outlines the ethical principles and professional duties of doctors.

The recent amendment is in recognition of increasing workloads and other occupational stresses and the potential adverse effects these factors can have on doctors, your health, and your ability to provide care of the highest standard.

The new clause is an important step in breaking down assumptions that doctors should place self-care before patient care. Such assumptions are not helpful if we want to address the problem of poor well-being in the medical profession.

The evidence is clear that doctors who feel better will make fewer mistakes and solve problems faster. Public investment in your careers will pay off with quality care.

But doctor’s health and wellbeing cannot just be the responsibility of individual doctors. We need to focus on systemic cultural and organisational issues, and not individualise these problems.

Staff shortages, excessive workloads, onerous on call and fatigue are all risks to your health and safety. And ASMOF is here to help you say no to unsafe workplaces and unsafe work practices. Contact us if you need assistance in making your workplace safer.

The Physician’s Pledge


I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;

THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;

I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;

I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;

I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender,

nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing, or any other

factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;

I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;

I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good

medical practice;

I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;

I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their


I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of


I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the

highest standard;

I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even

under threat;

I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely, and upon my honour.