Health care practitioners in prison face the challenge of providing high standards of health care within the unique peculiarities and restraints of the prison environment. The strict adherence to principles of medical ethics by the prison health care staff and the knowledge and acceptance of these principles by the whole prison community not only results in ethical conduct but also yields practical professional advantages such as guidance in situations of conflict, promotion of confidence and avoidance of misunderstandings. The internationally consented conventions, declarations and recommendations relevant on medical ethics in prison are presented and their basic principles ‐ the primary task of the prison doctor, access to a doctor, equivalence of care, patient’s consent and confidentiality, preventive health care, humanitarian assistance, professional independence, professional competence ‐ are discussed. In addition, the personal obligation of the prison doctor for ethical reflection and decision making in individual ethical issues not covered by the quoted documents and in ethically controversial issues is emphasized. A training course and published guidelines for ethical conduct in prison health care are recommended.
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