General Medical Council – guidance survey

What were the key findings

  • The majority of doctors (90%) were aware of our current good practice guidance. Most doctors become aware of the guidance either at medical school or at the point they register with us.

  • Those introduced to the guidance at medical school were more likely to say that they have referred to the guidance during their medical careers.

  • Roughly 80% of doctors had found it useful to receive guidance upon registration, regarding this as a important introduction to the good practice principles and ethical issues they needed to consider. For these doctors it was important to apply these principles as soon as possible.

  • For the minority of doctors who had not found receipt of the guidance at registration useful, the guidance was felt to be too much to take in at this point and to be lacking in practical examples.

  • The majority of doctors said that they have referred to our guidance at some point in their medical careers. Almost 9 in 10 said that they found the guidance helpful when they last referred to it, with over a third finding it very helpful, and less than one in ten not finding the guidance helpful.

  • The top reason for finding the guidance helpful is as a useful indication or reminder of the types of issues doctors need to consider.

  • Only 7% of doctors did not find the guidance helpful. Most of these said the guidance did not tell them anything they did not already know

  • Older doctors tended to have a preference for guidance in hard copy, while there is preference for electronic formats among younger doctors.

  • Of those doctors who had accessed Good medical practice in action (online interactive case studies), around three quarters say they had found these helpful.

  • On the whole, doctors were positive about our guidance, with most agreeing that it is relevant and helps doctors to resolve ethical dilemmas.

  • The majority of doctors felt that we should do more to communicate our guidance to doctors and should continue to develop innovative ways to help doctors understand how the guidance applies across doctors’ working lives. This was echoed in support for new formats of learning materials.

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General Medical Council – guidance survey