Regulating doctors, ensuring good medical practice


GMC publishes updated core guidance for all UK doctors

Press Release

25 Mar 2013

Every doctor in the UK will have to show they meet the professional standards set out in updated guidance from the General Medical Council (GMC).

This guidance has never been more vital or relevant – the Mid-Staffs Inquiry has shown how important it is for all health professionals to understand and accept their responsibilities for patient care.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council

This latest version of Good medical practice will underpin the new system of regular checks on doctors (known as revalidation) which came into force at the end of last year.

Doctors will need to demonstrate at their annual appraisal how they are meeting the standards in the updated guidance – the aim is to ensure that every doctor keeps up to date and is fit to practise.

The guidance - which applies to all 250,000 doctors on the GMC’s register – is more concise and has been amended to reflect changing attitudes of patients, such as the increasing contact with doctors online.

The guidance makes clear that a doctor’s responsibility goes beyond providing good clinical treatment – the doctor must take a lead role in making sure that patients receive high quality compassionate care and that their dignity is always respected.

The latest version is also more explicit about doctors’ responsibilities when patients’ basic care needs are not being met, particularly for those patients who are unable to drink, feed or clean themselves.

For the first time it includes guidance on doctors’ use of social media.

The 2013 edition follows a consultation in which more than 2,000 doctors and 4,000 patients gave feedback on what they would like to see included.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, said:

‘Every doctor in the UK will receive a copy of the updated version of Good medical practice.

‘These standards are the rock on which good practice is founded – and they are reflected every day in the high quality care delivered by doctors across the UK. We expect all doctors to meet these standards and we will take action to protect patients whenever they are not met.

‘This guidance has never been more vital or relevant – the Mid-Staffs Inquiry has shown how important it is for all health professionals to understand and accept their responsibilities for patient care – Good medical practice spells this out for doctors and they will now have to show, through their annual appraisal, that they are meeting the required standards.’