It says the program portrayed anecdotal evidence of unethical behaviour among surgeons - including the overuse of surgery, profit-driven motives, lack of transparency and patient exploitation - but without the context to show how rare these instances are and without acknowledging the safeguards in place to ensure the great majority of surgeons work to legal and ethical best practice.

All RACS Fellows (FRACS) make a pledge to abide by the College’s Code of Conduct, publicly available on our website, and this makes clear low-value care is not condoned. All Fellows must be aware of their obligations under the Code and comply with its provisions. 

The RACS Code of Conduct includes points on informed consent, a patient’s right to a second opinion, informed financial consent, fair fees and transparency about third party interests that may influence a surgeon’s fees.

RACS also supports the Medical Board of Australia and the Medical Council of New Zealand's Good Medical Practice codes of conduct and the codes of conduct of relevant surgical specialty societies and associations.

Should the College have been approached for comment before the episode aired it could have pointed reporters to the vast majority of surgeons who work hard to ensure they provide the best possible care for their patients, through medical knowledge and technical expertise but also through sound clinical, patient-centred decision making. 

It could also have highlighted the various codes of conduct that surgeons must comply with as well as other safeguards to ensure the legal and ethical provision of care. That includes audits by private health insurers and the government to prevent Medicare fraud.

RACS is committed to working with all stakeholders – government, medical professionals, and patient advocacy groups - to ensure Australians continue to have access to safe and effective treatment options for chronic pain and that Medicare billing is compliant and meets high quality care and patient safety.