Treat patients and colleagues fairly and without discrimination
- 56. You must give priority to patients on the basis of their clinical need if these decisions are within your power. If inadequate resources, policies or systems prevent you from doing this, and patient safety, dignity or comfort may be seriously compromised, you must follow the guidance in paragraph 25b.
- 57. The investigations or treatment you provide or arrange must be based on the assessment you and your patient make of their needs and priorities, and on your clinical judgement about the likely effectiveness of the treatment options. You must not refuse or delay treatment because you believe that a patient’s actions or lifestyle have contributed to their condition.
- 58. You must not deny treatment to patients because their medical condition may put you at risk. If a patient poses a risk to your health or safety, you should take all available steps to minimise the risk before providing treatment or making other suitable alternative arrangements for providing treatment.
- 59. You must not unfairly discriminate against patients or colleagues by allowing your personal views* to affect your professional relationships or the treatment you provide or arrange. You should challenge colleagues if their behaviour does not comply with this guidance, and follow the guidance in paragraph 25c if the behaviour amounts to abuse or denial of a patient’s or colleague’s rights.
- 60. You must consider and respond to the needs of disabled patients and should make reasonable adjustments† to your practice so they can receive care to meet their needs.
- 61. You must respond promptly, fully and honestly to complaints and apologise when appropriate. You must not allow a patient’s complaint to adversely affect the care or treatment you provide or arrange.
- 62. You should end a professional relationship with a patient only when the breakdown of trust between you and the patient means you cannot provide good clinical care to the patient.18
- 63. You must make sure you have adequate insurance or indemnity cover so that your patients will not be disadvantaged if they make a claim about the clinical care you have provided in the UK.
- 64. If someone you have contact with in your professional role asks for your registered name and/or GMC reference number, you must give this information to them.
*This includes your views about a patient’s or colleague’s lifestyle, culture or their social or economic status, as well as the characteristics protected by legislation: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
†‘Reasonable adjustments’ does not only mean changes to the physical environment. It can include, for example. Being flexible about appointment time or length, and making arrangements for those with communication difficulties such as impaired hearing. For more information see the EHRC website.