To develop the updated standards, we’ve listened and acted on feedback from thousands of medical professionals, patients and others supporting the UK’s health services. So they are a shared agreement of good practice.
The standards are also grounded in evidence from public inquiries, published reports and research we’ve commissioned. And our advisory forum, made up of healthcare leaders and patients advocates, has shaped our thinking throughout the project.
Medical professionals – consultation by numbers
We heard from over 3,200 medical professionals, from different roles and specialties, in our online survey.
The responses we had were roughly proportionate to the diversity of the medical register. For example, 7% of doctors who took part identified as having a disability (compared to 4% on the medical register) and 7% identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (compared to 2% on the medical register).
Those who told us they were from an ethnic minority background
Those who told us their gender
of the respondents were male
of the respondents were female
of the doctors on the medical register are male
of the doctors on the medical register are female
* 4% of respondents decided not tell us their gender
Patients and the public – consultation by numbers
159 patients took part in focus groups. These were specifically for people who may not be able or want to complete online surveys, including domestic abuse survivors, refugees and asylum seekers and homeless people.
Those who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual
Patients identifying as having a disability
of the patients who responded identified as disabled
of the overall UK population identify as disabled (ONS 2021)
Acting on feedback
We consulted on an updated version of the standards from 27 April to 20 July 2022. Over 4,600 individuals took part in our surveys and 47 organisations shared their views. We also ran more than 200 engagement events, speaking to over 3,800 people with experiences of the health services.
We used this feedback to develop the final version of the standards. We heard support for a stronger focus on professional behaviours which create respectful, fair and compassionate workplaces. And for updates to help the profession tackle bullying, discrimination and harassment in medicine.
The responses have also allowed us to fully consider the collective impact that the updated standards could all have on the UK's health services and patient care. This has helped us make sure they are reasonable to deliver in high-pressure environments.
Developing the wording
We’ve also changed how we describe some of the updated standards, in response to feedback about how these could work in practice. This includes being clearer on what we mean by:
Taking action in response to witnessing bullying, discrimination and harassment.
We’ve added examples of the type of action this could include. For example, checking in and offering support to anyone targeted or affected by the behaviour. We’ve also clearly explained what we mean by acting in a sexual way towards a colleague, which we developed with organisations with expertise in this area.
Treating patients with kindness.
We’ve described the type of behaviour and actions that show kindness to patients. We’ve also explained that this doesn’t mean agreeing to every request or withholding relevant information that may be upsetting or unwelcome.
Leadership behaviours expected of those in formal leadership roles, in contrast to what's expected of all doctors.
We ran focus groups with doctors, physician associates, anaesthesia associates, patients and healthcare organisations, to make sure the language in the final version is clear and accessible to the range of people who use the standards.