The Hippocratic Oath is believed to date back to the 4th century BC. Over the centuries, it has been rewritten often in order to suit the values of different cultures influenced by Greek medicine. Contrary to popular belief, the Hippocratic Oath is not required by most modern medical schools, although some have adopted modern versions that suit many in the profession in the 21st century. It also does not explicitly contain the phrase, “First, do no harm,” which is commonly attributed to it. The Physician’s Oath, first adopted in 1948, is a modern version of the ancient Hippocratic Oath and is the vow read out by doctors when they qualify.

A New Zealand (Queenstown) doctor Sam Hazledine proposed an amendment to the modern Hippocratic Oath to theWorld Medical Association last year. Hazledine, doctor and founder of Australasia’s largest medical recruitment agency, MedRecruit, presented a 4500-signature petition to the WMA’s General Assembly in Taipei asking the modern Hippocratic Oath, to add a clause advocating doctors focus on looking after their own health as well as the health and well-being of their patients.

On 14th October 2017, the World Medical Association (WMA) voted on an amendment put forward by Dr Sam Hazledine, aimed at improving the health and well-being of thousands of medics the world over. The amendment passed, adds the clause: “I will attend to my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard.”

Sam Hazledine noticed widespread burnout in medical profession and proposed a change that allows doctors to prioritise their own health as well as that of their patient. Research had shown stress and burn-out also led to depersonalisation and an emotional disconnection from patients. Suicide rates among doctors were climbing, Dr Hazeldine said.

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