Practising in challenging circumstances

Our expectations of your working environment 

When you join a new workplace, it’s your employer’s responsibility to provide a full induction, training and relevant equipment. At this challenging time, this is even more important. 

Working within your competency and job description

You should only perform the tasks that are within your competency and job description. If you’re asked to perform at the limits of your competence for your stage of training, you should be supervised by an appropriately qualified senior doctor. 

You can find out more about what you can expect from your Foundation placements on the UK Foundation Programme Office’s website.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Your employer should take all necessary steps to make sure you’re suitably equipped, for example with protective clothing. They’re also responsible for giving you the right information to minimise the risk of transmission. If you’re concerned about your safety, you should raise this with your employer as soon as possible.

If equipment is not immediately available, you should work with your employer and colleagues to find a solution to provide the safest care possible in the circumstances. You should also keep a record of your decisions and how you handled your safety concerns. 

Read the latest PPE guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health Wales, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland and Public Health England. 

Applying our guidance

You should follow our guidance as far as is practical in the circumstances. Our professional standards for doctors provide a framework for ethical decision making in a wide range of situations and levels of experience.

We understand that the UK's health services and medical professionals are experiencing an exceptional level of pressure. If you think patient safety, dignity or comfort is being compromised in ways that are avoidable, you should tell a senior colleague or manager. You should work with colleagues to find a solution and keep a record of how you handled your safety concerns.

Doctors are still accountable for the decisions they make. But, where a concern is raised about a registered professional, it will always be considered on the specific facts of the case. We will take into account the situation in which the professional is working and any protocols in place at the time.

You can find out more advice about applying our guidance in challenging circumstances, working within your competency, and the latest on PPE guidance on our ethical hub. We’ll keep this updated with the latest information.