Professionalism in action
Patients need good doctors. Good doctors make the care of their patients their first concern: they are competent, keep their knowledge and skills up to date, establish and maintain good relationships with patients and colleagues,1 are honest and trustworthy, and act with integrity and within the law.
Colleagues include anyone a doctor works with, whether or not they are also doctors.
Good doctors work in partnership with patients and respect their rights to privacy and dignity. They treat each patient as an individual. They do their best to make sure all patients receive good care and treatment that will support them to live as well as possible, whatever their illness or disability.
Good medical practice describes what is expected of all doctors registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). It is your responsibility to be familiar with Good medical practice and the explanatory guidance2 which supports it, and to follow the guidance they contain.
You must use your judgement in applying the principles to the various situations you will face as a doctor, whether or not you hold a licence to practise, whatever field of medicine you work in, and whether or not you routinely see patients. You must be prepared to explain and justify your decisions and actions.
In Good medical practice, we use the terms ‘you must’ and ‘you should’ in the following ways.
- ‘You must’ is used for an overriding duty or principle.
- 'You should’ is used when we are providing an explanation of how you will meet the overriding duty.
- 'You should’ is also used where the duty or principle will not apply in all situations or circumstances, or where there are factors outside your control that affect whether or how you can follow the guidance.
To maintain your licence to practise, you must demonstrate, through the revalidation process, that you work in line with the principles and values set out in this guidance. Only serious or persistent failure to follow our guidance that poses a risk to patient safety or public trust in doctors will put your registration at risk.