Personal beliefs and medical practice (2013)
- 1. In Good medical practice * we say:
- 15. You must provide a good standard of practice and care. If you assess, diagnose or treat patients, you must:
- a. adequately assess the patient’s conditions, taking account of their history (including the symptoms and psychological, spiritual, social and cultural factors), their views and values; where necessary, examine the patient
- b. promptly provide or arrange suitable advice, investigations or treatment where necessary
- c. refer a patient to another practitioner when this serves the patient’s needs.
- 48. You must treat patients fairly and with respect whatever their life choices and beliefs.
- 52. You must explain to patients if you have a conscientious objection to a particular procedure. You must tell them about their right to see another doctor and make sure they have enough information to exercise that right. In providing this information you must not imply or express disapproval of the patient’s lifestyle, choices or beliefs. If it is not practical for a patient to arrange to see another doctor, you must make sure that arrangements are made for another suitably qualified colleague to take over your role.
- 54. You must not express your personal beliefs (including political, religious and moral beliefs) to patients in ways that exploit their vulnerability or are likely to cause them distress.
- 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.
- 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...
- 2. In this guidance, we explain how doctors can put these principles into practice. Serious or persistent failure to follow this guidance will put your registration at risk.
* General Medical Council (2013) Good medical practice London, GMC.
† 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 or maternity, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.