Joining other regulators to give advice on conflicts of interest

We’ve joined other health and care regulators to agree a joint statement on handling conflicts of interest.

The joint statement on conflicts of interest 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 has been agreed by all nine regulators overseen by the Professional Standards Authority, and has been signed by our Chief Executive, Charlie Massey.

What are conflicts of interest? 

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 statement supports our ethical guidance for doctors on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest.

Key expectations outlined in the statement 

The joint statement sets out the expectations of healthcare 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.
  • making sure patients have easy-to-understand information on any fees and charging policies.

The importance of consistent guidance

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 multidisciplinary 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.’