The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of a profession includes the following:
'Its members profess a commitment to competence, integrity and morality, altruism, and the promotion of the public good within their domain.'
These commitments form the basis of a social contract between a profession and society, which in return grants the profession the right to autonomy in practice and the privilege of self-regulation.
Doctors have entered into a social contract with society to promote the public good. This module discusses how psychiatrists should act to improve the health of society. This involves responding to the social determinants of health, inequalities of access to health care and advocating for patients.
'I urge you to look at the population you serve, the communities in which you work, the people you employ and the teams in which you work to think about how you can …. take ever more action to reduce health inequalities.' Sir Michael Marmot (BMA, 2011)