eISSN: 2449-8580
ISSN: 1734-3402
Family Medicine & Primary Care Review
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vol. 19
Original paper

General practitioners’ level of knowledge about their rights and criminal liabilities according to legislation in Turkey

Baki Derhem, Mehmet Ungan

Family Medicine & Primary Care Review 2017; 19(4): 357–360
Online publish date: 2017/12/08
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Background. To know legal regulations and to comply with them while providing health care is indispensable for physicians to work in a proper way. Ignorance of the criminal laws may not be an excuse according to Turkish Criminal Code. There is an obligation for physicians to know the law, as well as all citizens. Physicians should possess the scope of competences regarding medicolegal regulations at least.

Objectives. The aim of this study is to investigate the knowledge and behaviors of GPs regarding their rights, criminal liabilities and common rules of law that are regulated by legislation. We also aimed to determine how the answers were influenced by sociodemographic factors, educational status of participants and if the participants received any punishment.

Material and methods. A total number of 381 physicians working at primary health care services located in Ankara were interviewed face-to-face. We used a 38-item questionnaire that was developed according to current legislation. The collected data was analyzed using SPSS software (Version 11.5). The chi-square test was used in order to compare knowledge-based questions with sociodemographic factors. The Mann-Whitney U test was used for assessing whether the number of correct answers differs with socio-demographic factors or not. A p-value of 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results. 21.8 percent of the participants were FM specialists, and 78.2% of them were GPs. The mean age of physicians was 46.9 ± 7.6.

The median score for correct responses in 18 knowledge-based questions was 8 (min–max: 3–14). In comparison with the working experience with correct answers, there was a statistically significant difference between 1–5 years of experience and 11–15 years and ≥ 16 years (p < 0.001). There was a significant difference in correct answers between the two groups, which were separated according to whether or not they received punishment as a result of a legal investigation. In our study, the doctors who have taken education about physician’s rights and criminal liabilities before had a higher number of correct answer than those who have not taken (p < 0.001).

Conclusions. As a result of our survey, we determined that our physicians have insufficient levels of knowledge about medico-legal issues. The findings reveal the requirement for comprehensive education about a doctor’s rights and liabilities during residency or via in-service trainings. The importance of the situation should be investigated by further studies and constructive steps should be initiated as soon as possible.

medical law, medicolegal, family physicians, doctor’s rights

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