Valuing diversity - Guidance for doctors
In Good Medical Practice (paragraph 13) the GMC makes it clear that doctors are expected to keep up to date with, and adhere to, the laws and codes of practice which are relevant to their work. This includes the requirements of equality and human rights law.
Key legislation in this area includes the:
- Equality Act 2010
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Gender Recognition Act 2004
- Civil Partnership Act 2004
- Welsh Language Act 1993 (where applicable)
Paragraph 7 of Good Medical Practice makes it clear that doctors must treat patients with respect whatever their life choices and beliefs and must not unfairly discriminate against patients by allowing their personal views* to affect adversely their professional relationship with them or the treatment they provide or arrange.
[*This includes views about a patient’s age, colour, culture, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, lifestyle, marital or parental status, race, religion or beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, or social or economic status.]
The GMC has produced other guidance and information which illustrates how the principles in Good Medical Practice apply in practice, and how they may be interpreted in other contexts. Guidance that may be useful in the context of managing the diverse needs of patients includes the following:
Equality and diversity cuts across all areas of a doctor’s role, whatever the speciality or setting. Many doctors will also lead teams or be involved in the management, supervision or recruitment of diverse colleagues.
Some useful links
There are many sources of advice and help available around how to apply the law and implement best practice. These include the following.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website provides advice and guidance on rights, responsibilities and good practice, on equality law and human rights legislation.
Information on the Human Rights Act 1998 can also be found on the Ministry of Justice website.
Northern Ireland has a comprehensive framework of equality and anti-discrimination law. Further details can be found on the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland website.
The NHS Employers website offers a broad range of advice, guidance and practical support on equality and diversity.
The Department of Health (England) website provides a range of information for NHS clinicians and staff to address equality and human rights issues within their work and provides access to various online resources.
The BMA website provides a range of information on equality, diversity and human rights including links to key organisations.
The GMC is not responsible for the content of external web sites.