How our guidance applies to doctors taking part in protests

We’ve recently received some questions about our guidance for doctors and how it applies to those who are taking part in protests. 

Like all citizens, doctors are entitled to their own personal political opinions, and there is nothing in the standards we set that prevents them from exercising their rights to lobby government, or campaign on issues.

If we receive a complaint about the actions of a doctor involved in a protest, or a self-referral, we have a legal duty to consider the issues raised. However, as with all complaints, we would make our decision based on the specific facts of the case. 

Our focus would be on whether a doctor’s actions may have fallen seriously or persistently below the standards we set, or put patients or the public confidence in the profession at risk. Doctors must always be prepared to justify their decisions and actions.

You can read more about this in paragraphs 54 and 59 of Good medical practice

You might also find it helpful to read Reporting criminal and regulatory proceedings for our guidance on what doctors need to do if they are charged or cautioned for a criminal offence.