Working with doctors Working for patients

GMC joins regulators to provide conflicts of interest advice

Web News

08 Aug 2017

The General Medical Council (GMC) has today (Tuesday 8 August) joined other health and care regulators to agree a joint statement on handling conflicts of interest.

Handling conflicts of interest can be a complex and tricky issue, and it is important for us as regulators to set out, in a clear and consistent way, what is expected of those working in health and care.

GMC Chief Executive Charlie Massey

It sets out the expectations of how doctors, and other professionals working in healthcare, should act in relation to avoiding, declaring and managing actual or potential conflicts of interest.

The statement, agreed by all nine regulators* overseen by the Professional Standards Authority, has been signed on behalf of the GMC by Chief Executive Charlie Massey.

Charlie Massey said: ‘Handling conflicts of interest can be a complex and tricky issue, and it is important for us as regulators to set out, in a clear and consistent way, what is expected of those working in health and care.

‘The move towards more multi-disciplinary teams being involved in the care of patients makes a joined-up approach very important. This joint statement, backed up with helpful case studies, will ensure everyone is aware of what regulators expect.

‘In addition, this piece of important work is an excellent example of regulators working together, for the benefit of both healthcare professionals and their patients.’

Conflicts of interest can occur when someone’s judgment might be influenced, or perceived to be influenced, by a personal, financial or other interest.

The joint statement sets out the expectations of health care professionals, including:

  • Putting the interests of people in their care above their own interests.
  • Maintaining appropriate personal and professional boundaries.
  • Refusing gifts, favours or hospitality which could be interpreted as an attempt to gain preferential treatment.
  • Ensuring patients have easy-to-understand information on any fees and charging policies.

The joint statement, which can be read in full on the GMC website, supports the GMC’s existing guidance, published in March 2013, on Financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest.


Notes to editors

*As well as the GMC, the joint statement has been signed by the following organisations:
General Chiropractic Council
General Dental Council
General Optical Council
General Osteopathic Council
General Pharmaceutical Council
Health and Care Professions Council
Nursing and Midwifery Council
Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland

The General Medical Council (GMC) is an independent organisation that helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK.

  • We decide which doctors are qualified to work here and we oversee UK medical education and training.
  • We set the standards that doctors need to follow, and make sure that they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers.
  • We take action when we believe a doctor may be putting the safety of patients, or the public's confidence in doctors, at risk.

We are not here to protect doctors - their interests are protected by others. Our job is to protect the public.

We are independent of government and the medical profession and accountable to Parliament. Our powers are given to us by Parliament through the Medical Act 1983.

We are a registered charity (number 1089278 with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and number SC037750 with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator), we have to show that our aims are for public benefit.

The GMC Media Relations Office can be contacted on 020 7189 5454, email

To find out more please visit our website

Join us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.