Good medical practice

Domain 1: Knowledge skills and performance

Develop and maintain your professional performance


You must be competent in all aspects of your work, including management, research and teaching.3 4 5


Good practice in research (2010) GMC, London


Developing teachers and trainers in undergraduate medical education (2011) GMC, London


You must keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date.


You must regularly take part in activities that maintain and develop your competence and performance.6 


Continuing professional development: guidance for all doctors (2012) GMC, London


You should be willing to find and take part in structured support opportunities offered by your employer or contracting body (for example, mentoring). You should do this when you join an organisation and whenever your role changes significantly throughout your career.


You must be familiar with guidelines and developments that affect your work.


You must keep up to date with, and follow, the law, our guidance and other regulations relevant to your work.


You must take steps to monitor and improve the quality of your work.

Apply knowledge and experience to practice


You must recognise and work within the limits of your competence.


You must have the necessary knowledge of the English language to provide a good standard of practice and care in the UK.7 


This paragraph was added on 29 April 2014. Section 35C(2)(da) of the Medical Act 1983, inserted by the Medical Act 1983 (Amendment) (Knowledge of English) Order 2014.


You must provide a good standard of practice and care. If you assess, diagnose or treat patients, you must: 

  1. adequately assess the patient’s conditions, taking account of their history (including the symptoms and psychological, spiritual, social and cultural factors), their views and values; where necessary, examine the patient
  2. promptly provide or arrange suitable advice, investigations or treatment where necessary
  3. refer a patient to another practitioner when this serves the patient’s needs.8 

Delegation and referral (2013) GMC, London


In providing clinical care you must: 

  1. prescribe drugs or treatment, including repeat prescriptions, only when you have adequate knowledge of the patient’s health and are satisfied that the drugs or treatment serve the patient’s needs9 
  2. provide effective treatments based on the best available evidence
  3. take all possible steps to alleviate pain and distress whether or not a cure may be possible10 
  4. consult colleagues where appropriate
  5. respect the patient’s right to seek a second opinion
  6. check that the care or treatment you provide for each patient is compatible with any other treatments the patient is receiving, including (where possible) self-prescribed over-the-counter medications
  7. wherever possible, avoid providing medical care to yourself or anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship.9 

Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices (2013) GMC, London


Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices (2013) GMC, London


You must be satisfied that you have consent or other valid authority before you carry out any examination or investigation, provide treatment or involve patients or volunteers in teaching or research.4 11 12


Good practice in research (2010) GMC, London


Consent to research (2013) GMC, London


You must make good use of the resources available to you.3 

Record your work clearly, accurately and legibly


Documents you make (including clinical records) to formally record your work must be clear, accurate and legible. You should make records at the same time as the events you are recording or as soon as possible afterwards.


You must keep records that contain personal information about patients, colleagues or others securely, and in line with any data protection law requirements.14 


Clinical records should include:

  1. relevant clinical findings
  2. the decisions made and actions agreed, and who is making the decisions and agreeing the actions
  3. the information given to patients
  4. any drugs prescribed or other investigation or treatment
  5. who is making the record and when.