How we reviewed Good medical practice 

To develop the updated standards, we’ve listened and acted on feedback from thousands of healthcare 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.

Healthcare professionals – consultation by numbers

We heard from over 3,200 healthcare professionals, from different roles and specialties, in our online survey including:

  • 2899 doctors
  • 55 medical students
  • 75 physician associates and students
  • 20 anaesthesia associates and students
  • and 37 other healthcare professionals.

The demographic makeup of the professionals who responded was roughly proportionate to the diversity of the demographic composition of those professions as a whole. For example, 7% of the 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).

Ethnic minority background

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 to 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 the standards 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.

For more information about how we reviewed Good medical practice, you can read The development of Good medical practice.