I. General provisions
A doctor shall protect human health. A doctor shall cure, alleviate and console. A doctor shall help the ill to regain their health and the healthy to preserve theirs.
A doctor shall base his practice on respect for fundamental human rights, and on truth and justice in relations with patients and to society.
A doctor shall safeguard the interests and integrity of the individual patient. Patients must be treated with caring and respect. Cooperation with patients should be based on mutual trust and, where possible, on informed consent.
Doctors have different roles as treatment provider, expert and administrator of welfare benefits. These roles have a bearing on how doctors behave, and how they treat sensitive information. A clear distinction must be made between their roles of treatment provider and expert. Doctors are responsible for providing necessary information and appropriate information about their role and the purpose of the contact.
A patient is entitled to information on his or her condition and treatment and normally to access to the information in the patient's case sheet. The patient shall be informed to the extent he or she wishes. Information which may be thought to be particularly difficult to bear, shall be given with care.
A doctor shall maintain confidentiality and exercise discretion in respect of information he or she obtains in his or her medical capacity. The ethical obligation to maintain professional secrecy and discretion may extend further than the statutory obligation. The giving of information must be grounded in the patient's implicit or explicit consent or in a statute.
Doctors shall not perform euthanasia or assisted suicide. Withdrawing or not initiating futile treatment (limitation of treatment) shall not be considered as euthanasia.
When a patient is in urgent need of medical assistance, this shall be provided as soon as possible. The obligation to provide immediate assistance ceases to apply if the doctor has ascertained that another doctor is providing assistance.
A doctor can refuse to treat a patient provided the patient has reasonable access to treatment by another doctor.
A doctor must not exploit a patient sexually, financially, religiously or in any other way. A patient's consent does not absolve the doctor of responsibility. A doctor must not enter into sexual relations with a person whose doctor he or she is.
A doctor shall in his or her practice have due regard for his or her patient's financial circumstances and not charge unreasonable fees.
In examinations and treatment a doctor shall only employ methods indicated by sound medical practice. Methods which expose the patient to unnecessary risk shall not be employed. If a doctor does not possess the skill a method calls for, he or she shall ensure that the patient receives other competent treatment.
A doctor must not use or recommend methods which lack foundations in scientific research or sufficient medical experience. A doctor must not allow him- or herself to be pressed into using medical methods which he or she regards as professionally incorrect.
When new methods are being tried out, regard for the patient on whom they are being tried shall be the primary concern.
A doctor shall maintain and constantly seek to renew his or her knowledge.
A doctor should according to his or her competence contribute to the development and mediation of medical knowledge.
A doctor should according to his or her ability contribute to objective information to the public and the authorities on medical matters. A doctor who pronounces on medical matters to the media should ensure that he or she will be able to check the form in which the pronouncements are made public.
A doctor shall in his or her practice have due regard for the national economy. Unnecessary or excessively costly methods must not be employed.
A doctor must not enter into relationships with the pharmaceutical industry and/or suppliers of medical equipment that may be detrimental to the confidence in the doctor’s professional assessments.
A doctor must contribute to the distribution of medical resources in accordance with generally accepted ethical norms. A doctor must in no way seek to provide individual patients or groups with unjustified advantages, whether financial, in respect of priorities, or otherwise. A doctor must give notice of insufficient resources in his or her area of responsibility.
II. Rules governing the relations of doctors with their colleagues and collaborators
A doctor must show respect for colleagues and collaborators, and assist, advise and guide them.
A doctor who sees signs of professional or ethical laxity in a colleague or collaborator should first take the matter up directly with the person concerned. The approach should be tactful, especially towards students or doctors in training.
If this does not have the desired effect, the doctor should take the matter up with the person's administrative superior, bodies of the Norwegian Medical Association, or the competent health authority.
A doctor who sees signs of illness or abuse of intoxicants in a colleague or collaborator should offer his/her assistance.
A doctor should take care of his own health and seek help if it fails.
A doctor should take care not to criticise colleagues and collaborators when speaking to patients and their relatives, but must always keep the patient's interests in view.
Public and other debates between colleagues on medical questions and health policy issues must be conducted in an objective manner.
The referring and referring back of patients between colleagues must be based on professional medical criteria and the patient's need for continuous health services.
Doctors must communicate with one another openly and trustfully. Exchanges of information between doctors concerning patients must take place sufficiently quickly and cover what is professionally necessary.
Practice with regard to referrals must not be governed by personal financial interests.
III. Marketing and other information concerning medical services
Marketing and other information concerning medical services may only contain information about:
- the location, opening hours, and administration of the practice,
- the type of practice, speciality (see § 2 below) and title (see § 3 below) of the practitioner,
- diagnostic and therapeutic methods
- the fees charged.
The information must reflect generally medically accepted and/or scientifically documented diagnosis of indications and/or methods. The information must contain nothing incorrect or misleading to the public. Marketing that may cause anxiety, prejudices or unrealistic expectations must not occur.
Marketing and other information must not mention possible or expected results of specific services, or the quality of the services. No formulations may be used which could give the public the impression that by failing to avail oneself of the services advertised, one is placing one's own or other persons' somatic, mental or social health at risk.
Marketing and information about the medical practice must be in accordance with the intentions indicated in the above.
The name of the doctor with medical responsibility must appear in marketing of and information about medical services. This doctor is considered responsible for compliance with the provisions in this section.
A doctor who is not an approved specialist may only market general practice. An approved specialist may market his or her speciality alone or in combination with "general practice". A speciality in a particular disease may only be marketed with the permission of the Council.
A doctor may only use such titles and designations as his or her education and position entitle him to.
He or she may not use titles and designations which may give an erroneous impression of his or her qualifications and work.
A doctor may not promote or market medicines or medical consumer goods. Mention in professional medical contexts in articles, lectures and the like, not made for gain, is not regarded as marketing.
IV. Rules governing the issuing by doctors of medical certificates and other certified documents
A medical certificate is a declaration by a doctor concerning a person's state of health. Medical certificates comprise such documents as completed forms for the use of the National Insurance authorities, certificates for various purposes, and statements of expert opinion.
A doctor shall not issue a medical certificate if he/she is in doubt as to his/her competence. If a doctor does not find objective grounds for issuing a certificate, a certificate shall not be issued.
A doctor shall base his/her certificates on the necessary information and on examinations that are sufficiently extensive for the purpose.
A medical certificate shall convey sufficient information for its purpose and be objective and neutral in its wording. Relevant information must not be withheld or distorted. A certificate shall not contain more information than necessary for its purpose. When medical documents intended for other purposes are attached to medical certificates, special care must be taken to observe professional secrecy.
A medical certificate must clearly show to whom it is addressed, its purpose, the doctor's relation to the person concerned, and what the doctor's knowledge concerning the person is based on. Written certificates must be drawn up as separate documents and dated and signed.
The person to whom a medical certificate relates is generally entitled to be informed of the contents of the certificate.