Ending your professional relationship with a patient (summary)

Annex - Extracts from Good medical practice

47. You should only end a professional relationship with a patient when the breakdown of trust between you and the patient means you can’t continue to provide good clinical care to them. You must follow our more detailed guidance on Ending your professional relationship with a patient.

19. You must treat patients fairly. You must not discriminate against them or allow your personal views to affect your relationship with them, or the treatment you provide or arrange. You must not refuse or delay treatment because you believe that a patient’s actions or choices contributed to their condition. 

33. You must consider and respond to the needs of patients with impairments or disabilities. Not all impairments and disabilities are easy to identify so you should ask patients what support they need, and offer reasonable adjustments that are proportionate to the circumstances.

56. You must not abuse, discriminate against, bully, or harass anyone based on their personal characteristics, or for any other reason. By ‘personal characteristics’ we mean someone’s appearance, lifestyle, culture, their social or economic status, or any of the characteristics protected by legislation – age, disability, gender reassignment, race, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

65. Continuity of care is important for all patients, but especially those who may struggle to navigate their healthcare journey or advocate for themselves. Continuity is particularly important when care is shared between teams, between different members of the same team, or when patients are transferred between care providers. 

To contribute to continuity of care you must: 

  1. promptly share all relevant information about patients (including any reasonable adjustments and communication support preferences) with others involved in their care, within and across teams, as required
  2. share information with patients about; 
    1. the progress of their care 
    2. who is responsible for which aspect of their care
    3. the name of the lead clinician or team with overall responsibility for their care
  1. be confident that information necessary for ongoing care has been shared; 
    1. before you go off duty 
    2. before you delegate care, or 
    3. before you refer the patient to another health or social care provider 
  1. check, where practical, that a named clinician or team has taken over responsibility when your role in a patient’s care has ended.