Reconceptualising the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Recognising the Role of Trust in Contemporary Health Care

Zara J. Bending*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


The conception of the doctor–patient relationship under Australian law has followed British common law tradition whereby the relationship is founded in a contractual exchange. By contrast, this article presents a rationale and framework for an alternative model—a “Trust Model”—for implementation into law to more accurately reflect the contemporary therapeutic dynamic. The framework has four elements: (i) an assumption that professional conflicts (actual or perceived) with patient safety, motivated by financial or personal interests, should be avoided; (ii) an onus on doctors to disclose these conflicts; (iii) a proposed mechanism to contend with instances where doctors choose not to disclose; and (iv) sanctions for non-compliance with the regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Bioethical Inquiry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

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