Providing witness statements or expert evidence as part of legal proceedings

Annex - Extracts from Good medical practice

Being competent

1

You must be competent in all aspects of your work including, where applicable, formal leadership or management roles, research and teaching.

2

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

3

You must keep up to date with guidelines and developments that affect your work.

4

The quality and reliability of witness evidence and expert medical opinion can make a significant difference to the fairness of the decisions and outcomes of proceedings. 

5

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

Maintaining, developing and improving your performance

11

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

12

When you join an organisation, or when your role changes significantly throughout your career, you should be willing to find and take part in structured support opportunities offered by your employer or contracting body, such as mentoring or coaching schemes.

13

You must take steps to monitor, maintain, develop, and improve your performance and the quality of your work, including taking part in systems of quality assurance and quality improvement to promote patient safety across the whole scope of your practice. 

This includes:

  1. contributing to discussions and decisions about improving the quality of services and outcomes
  2. taking part in regular reviews and audits of your work, and your team’s work, and responding constructively to the outcomes, taking steps to address problems, and carrying out further training where necessary
  3. regularly taking part in training and/or continuing professional development
  4. regularly reflecting on your standards of practice and the care you provide, including
    1. reflecting on any constructive feedback available to you
    2. considering how your life experience, culture and beliefs influence your interactions with others and may impact on the decisions you make and the care you provide.

Treating patients fairly and respecting their rights

22

You must treat information about patients as confidential, including after a patient has died. You must follow our more detailed guidance on Confidentiality: good practice in handling patient information.

Being open if things go wrong

46

You must respond promptly, fully and honestly to complaints. You must not allow a patient’s complaint to adversely affect the care or treatment you provide or arrange. 

Treating colleagues with kindness, courtesy and respect

48

You must treat colleagues3  with kindness, courtesy and respect.

3

‘Colleagues’ includes anyone you work with, whether or not they are a medical professional.

49

To develop and maintain effective teamworking and interpersonal relationships you must:

  1. listen to colleagues
  2. communicate clearly, politely and considerately
  3. recognise and show respect for colleagues’ skills and contributions
  4. work collaboratively with colleagues and be willing to lead or follow as the circumstances require.
50

When you are on duty you must be accessible to colleagues seeking information, advice, or support. 

51

You must be compassionate towards colleagues who have problems with their performance or health. But you must put patient safety first at all times. 

Recording your work clearly, accurately, and legibly

69

You must make sure that formal records of your work (including patients’ records) are clear, accurate, contemporaneous6  and legible. 

6

Contemporaneous means making records at the same time as the events you are recording, or as soon as possible afterwards.

71

You must keep records that contain personal information about patients, colleagues or others securely, and in line with any data protection law requirements and you must follow our guidance on Confidentiality: good practice in handling patient information.

Acting with honesty and integrity

81

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

82

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

83

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.

84

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

All professional communication

88

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

89

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. 

Managing conflicts of interest

94

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. 

95

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.

96

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.