Get to know Good medical practice 2024

Good medical practice has been updated. It sets out the standards of patient care and professional behaviour expected of all doctors in the UK, across all specialties, career stages and sectors.

These standards will also apply to physician associates and anaesthesia associates in the future, once they’re regulated by us.

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg / Read this page in Welsh

If you’re a doctor on our medical register, you’ll already be familiar with many of the principles in Good medical practice, such as working in partnership with patients and keeping your skills up to date.

It’s still important to familiarise yourself with the updated standards before they come into effect on 30 January 2024.

Read the updated Good medical practice 2024

The current version of Good medical practice will continue to apply to doctors until 30 January 2024.

Five key updates

The standards focus on behaviours and values which support good team work, make everyone feel safe to speak up, and empower doctors to provide quality care. In particular, we've updated five key areas to help you to:

  • create respectful, fair and compassionate workplaces for colleagues and patients
  • promote patient centred care
  • tackle discrimination
  • champion fair and inclusive leadership
  • support continuity of care and safe delegation.

Making your updated standards easier to navigate

We’ve made it easier for you to find the information you're looking for. We’ve restructured the standards, and made sure the title of each section clearly reflects the content in it. The four sections, known as domains, are:

  • Knowledge, skills and development
  • Patients, partnership and communication
  • Colleagues, culture and safety
  • Trust and professionalism.

The purpose of Good medical practice

Good medical practice is a framework of professional standards to guide you when you’re caring for patients and working with colleagues. The standards describe good practice, but they aren’t a set of rules. You should apply them using your judgement, in the specific circumstances you face.

In response to feedback in our consultation, the updated Good medical practice also includes a detailed explanation about how the standards relate to fitness to practise procedures.

If a concern is raised with us, we will always consider the individual circumstances and take into account any relevant factors known to us, such as:

  • how serious the concern is. This includes looking at the extent of the doctor’s departure from the standards, whether the behaviour is premeditated, whether the concern involves abuse of power, and whether the behaviour or concern relates to an isolated incident or has been repeated.
  • systems and interpersonal factors in the doctor’s working environment and their role and level of experience
  • how the doctor responded to the concern, including whether they’ve shown insight and if there is evidence of remediation.

Visit our webpages for more information about fitness to practise procedures and the support available to doctors.