The Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice publication includes the following directives that set expectations for doctors around both offering and advertising evidence based treatments:

Providing good clinical care

3. In providing care you are expected to:

provide effective treatments based on the best available evidence

Advertising

37. Make sure that any information you publish or broadcast about your medical services is factual and verifiable. It must not put undue pressure on people to use a service, for example by arousing ill-founded fear for their future health or by fostering unrealistic expectations. The information must conform to the requirements of the Council’s Statement on advertising, the Fair Trading Act 1986 and the Advertising Standards Authority guidelines.

In the Medical Council’s Statement on advertising, there are further details about the requirement for advertisements to be evidence based:

Council’s expectations

11. Advertisements must contain truthful and balanced representations. When you choose to make a claim or include scientific information in advertising, it should:

be presented in a manner that is valid, evidence based and substantiated

The Medical Council has also produced a Statement on complementary and alternative medicine, which talks both about patients using CAM and doctors prescribing CAM. On the one hand, this document says that:

No person may be found guilty of a disciplinary offence under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 merely because that person has adopted and practised any theory of medicine or healing if, in doing so, the person has acted honestly and in good faith

However, the document also makes it clear that there is a reasonable expectation that doctors should ensure that they properly inform patients about the evidence or lack of evidence for a given treatment:

There is an onus on the practitioner to inform the patient not only of the nature of the alternative treatment offered but also the extent to which that is consistent with conventional theories of medicine

you should advise patients when scientific support for treatment is lacking

Complaints about a doctor who is breaching these rules can be made through the Medical Council’s contact form or by emailing them at [email protected].

More details about the Medical Council’s complaints procedure can be read on their Conduct Concerns page.