Doctors: The Most Trusted Profession in Australia

Trusted doctor with arms folded and stethoscope around neck

Social research commissioned by the Medical Board of Australia has found doctors are the most trusted profession in Australia, sharing the top spot with nurses. The research was conducted as part of the ‘Medical Practitioners’ ongoing fitness and ‘competence to practise’ report prepared for the Medical Board of Australia this month.

The Board sent a survey to 14,747 randomly selected registered medical practitioners and received input from 3062 doctors sharing their ideas on building trust with patients.

1040 members of the community were asked about the same issues in an online survey conducted by an independent agency commissioned by the Board.


In the section on the most trusted professions in Australia, respondents trusted the following professionals:

  • 90% of survey respondents said they trusted doctors and nurses
  • Pharmacists received a score of 85%
  • University lecturers and judges were trusted by 61% of respondents
  • Business leaders scored only 18%
  • Only 7% said they trusted politicians

The findings showed that respondents aged 50 or older are more likely to trust medical professionals than those in the 18-39 age bracket.

Almost all the community members had seen a medical practitioner in the past 12 months either for themselves or someone they care for, and only one in five were dissatisfied with their last visit.

In response to being asked how important it is to have confidence and trust in a doctor, almost all respondents (93%) gave a rating of 7 or above on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being ‘very important’. 58% gave a rating of 10.

Among the most important factors for having confidence and trust in a doctor were demonstrating good medical skills and knowledge, keeping up to date with medical developments, and monitoring outcomes.

Both doctors and community members agreed the top attribute for building confidence and trust is clear and effective communication.

Despite being one of the most respected professions, the research found that 72% of the public believe a doctor’s practice should be reviewed at least every five years.

However, the majority of doctors typically undertake self-assessment and reflect on their own practice on a regular basis and almost all doctors feel their current professional development routines are sufficient.

The Medical Board of Australia, in partnership with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (APHPRA), is considering the necessity of introducing the evaluation of medical practitioners to ensure doctors are fit to practice and their skills are up to date.

Although the research showed there is little support from doctors for increasing the amount of professional development activities, such processes may be proposed in order to be more in line with consumer attitudes. If you’re interested in last year’s results for the most trusted profession, make sure to read our blog post.