Duties of a doctor

The duties of a doctor registered with the General Medical Council

Patients must be able to trust doctors with their lives and health.  To justify that trust you must show respect for human life and make sure your practice meets the standards expected of you in four domains.

Knowledge, skills and performance

  • Make the care of your patient your first concern.
  • Provide a good standard of practice and care. 
    • Keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date.
    • Recognise and work within the limits of your competence. 

Safety and quality

  • Take prompt action if you think that patient safety, dignity or comfort is being compromised.
  • Protect and promote the health of patients and the public.

Communication, partnership and teamwork

  • Treat patients as individuals and respect their dignity.
    • Treat patients politely and considerately. 
    • Respect patients' right to confidentiality.
  • Work in partnership with patients.
    • Listen to, and respond to, their concerns and preferences.
    • Give patients the information they want or need in a way they can understand. 
    • Respect patients' right to reach decisions with you about their treatment and care. 
    • Support patients in caring for themselves to improve and maintain their health.
  • Work with colleagues in the ways that best serve patients' interests.

Maintaining trust

  • Be honest and open and act with integrity.
  • Never discriminate unfairly against patients or colleagues.
  • Never abuse your patients' trust in you or the public's trust in the profession.

You are personally accountable for your professional practice and must always be prepared to justify your decisions and actions.