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About this guidance

1. This guidance sets out our expectation that all doctors will, whatever their role, take appropriate action to raise and act on concerns about patient care, dignity and safety

2. Good medical practice (2013) says:

24. You must promote and encourage a culture that allows all staff to raise concerns openly and safely.

25. You must take prompt action if you think that patient safety, dignity or comfort is or may be seriously compromised.

a. If a patient is not receiving basic care to meet their needs, you must immediately tell someone who is in a position to act straight away.

b. If patients are at risk because of inadequate premises, equipment1 or other resources, policies or systems, you should put the matter right if that is possible. You must raise your concern in line with our guidance and your workplace policy. You should also make a record of the steps you have taken.

c. If you have concerns that a colleague may not be fit to practise and may be putting patients at risk, you must ask for advice from a colleague, your defence body or us. If you are still concerned you must report this, in line with our guidance and your workplace policy, and make a record of the steps you have taken.

3. This guidance explains how to apply the principles in Good medical practice. It is separated into two parts.

  • Part 1: Raising a concern gives advice on raising a concern that patients might be at risk of serious harm, and on the help and support available to you.
  • Part 2: Acting on a concern explains your responsibilities when colleagues or others raise concerns with you and how those concerns should be handled.2