Good medical practice

Domain 4: Trust and professionalism


Patients must be able to trust medical professionals with their lives and health, and medical professionals must be able to trust each other. 

Good medical professionals uphold high personal and professional standards of conduct. They are honest and trustworthy, act with integrity, maintain professional boundaries and do not let their personal interests affect their professional judgements or actions.

Acting with honesty and integrity


You must make sure that your conduct justifies patients’ trust in you and the public’s trust in your profession.


You must always be honest about your experience, qualifications, and current role.


If a patient, colleague, or anyone else you have contact with in your professional role asks for your registered name and/or GMC reference number, you must give this information to them.


You must be honest in financial and commercial dealings with patients, employers, insurers, indemnifiers and other organisations or individuals. 

Acting with honesty and integrity in research


When designing, organising or carrying out research, you must put the interests of participants first. You must act with honesty and integrity, and follow national research governance guidelines and our more detailed guidance on Good practice in research.

Maintaining professional boundaries


You must not act in a sexual way towards patients or use your professional position to pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship with a patient or someone close to them. You must follow our more detailed guidance on Maintaining personal and professional boundaries.


You must not express your personal beliefs (including political, religious and moral beliefs) to patients in ways that exploit their vulnerability or could reasonably cause them distress. You must follow our more detailed guidance on Personal beliefs and medical practice.

Communicating as a medical professional

All professional communication


You must be honest and trustworthy, and maintain patient confidentiality in all your professional written, verbal and digital communications. 


You must make sure any information you communicate as a medical professional is accurate, not false or misleading. This means:

  1. you must take reasonable steps to check the information is accurate 
  2. you must not deliberately leave out relevant information
  3. you must not minimise or trivialise risks of harm
  4. you must not present opinion as established fact. 

Public professional communication, including using social media, advertising, promotion, and endorsement


When communicating publicly as a medical professional – including using social media, advertising your services, and promoting or endorsing any services or products:

  1. you must follow the guidance in paragraph 88 and 89 
  2. you must declare any conflicts of interest
  3. you must not exploit people’s vulnerability or lack of medical knowledge
  4. you must make sure what you communicate is in line with your duty to promote and protect the health of patients and the public.

You must follow our more detailed guidance on Using social media as a medical professional.

Giving evidence and acting as a witness


When giving evidence or acting as a witness, you must follow the guidance in paragraphs 88 to 90 and our more detailed guidance on Providing witness statements or expert evidence as part of legal proceedings, and you must make clear the limits of your knowledge and expertise.

Private communication


When communicating privately, including using instant messaging services, you should bear in mind that messages or other communications in private groups may become public.

Advice on social media

This ethical hub topic set out how our social media guidance can be applied practically.  It also has a section that answers common queries about using social media as a medical professional. 

Managing conflicts of interest


You must not allow any interests you have to affect, or be seen to affect the way you propose, provide or prescribe treatments, refer patients, or commission services. 


If you are faced with a conflict of interest, you must be open about it with patients and employers, declare it in line with local and national arrangements, and be prepared to exclude yourself from decision making. You must follow our more detailed guidance in Identifying and managing conflicts of interest.


You must not ask for or accept – from patients, colleagues or others – any incentive payments, gifts or hospitality that may affect or be seen to affect the way you propose, provide or prescribe treatments, refer or commission services for patients. You must not offer such incentives to others.


You must, wherever possible, avoid providing medical care to yourself or anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship. You must follow our more detailed guidance on Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices.