The Zimbabwe Dental Association calls upon dentists to follow high ethical standards which have the benefit of the patient as their primary goal. In recognition of this goal, the education and training of a dentist has resulted in society affording to the profession the privilege and obligation of self-government. To fulfil this privilege, these high ethical standards should be adopted and practiced throughout the dental school educational process and subsequent professional career.
The dentist has a duty to respect the patient's rights to self-determination and confidentiality. This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to treat the patient according to the patient's desires, within the bounds of accepted treatment, and to protect the patient's confidentiality. Under this principle, the dentist's primary obligations include involving patients in treatment decisions in a meaningful way, with due consideration being given to the patient's needs, desires and abilities, and safeguarding the patient's privacy.
The dentist has a duty to refrain from harming the patient.This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to protect the patient from harm. Under this principle, the dentist's primary obligations include keeping knowledge and skills current, knowing one's own limitations and when to refer to a specialist or other professional, and knowing when and under what circumstances delegation of patient care to auxiliaries is appropriate.
The dentist has a duty to promote the patient's welfare. This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to act for the benefit of others. Under this principle, the dentist's primary obligation is service to the patient and the public at large.
The most important aspect of this obligation is the competent and timely delivery of dental care within the bounds of clinical circumstances presented by the patient, with due consideration being given to the needs, desires and values of the patient. The same ethical considerations apply whether the dentist engages in fee-for-service, managed care or some other practice arrangement. Dentists may choose to enter into contracts governing the provision of care to a group of patients; however, contract obligations do not excuse dentists from their ethical duty to put the patient's welfare first.
The dentist has a duty to treat people fairly. This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to be fair in their dealings with patients, colleagues and society.Under this principle, the dentist's primary obligations include dealing with people justly and delivering dental care without prejudice. In its broadest sense, this principle expresses the concept that the dental profession should actively seek allies throughout society on specific activities that will help improve access to care for all.