The General Medical Council (GMC) has published the updated of Good medical practice, which details the principles, values and standards expected of doctors working in the UK. It is the first major update to the guidance in ten years.
The updated Good medical practice, which comes into effect at the end of January following a five-month familiarisation period for doctors, includes an entire section devoted to ‘contributing to a positive working and training environment’.
It says doctors must behave in ways that create ‘a culture that is respectful, fair, supportive and compassionate’, and should be aware of how their behaviour may influence others.
Doctors who witness unacceptable behaviour, including any form of bullying, discrimination or harassment, should do something about it. The guidance suggests that, depending on circumstances, this could include:
- offering support to the victim, including letting them know the behaviour witnessed is unacceptable
- challenging the behaviour by speaking to the person responsible, either at the time, if safe to do so, or at an appropriate time and place
- reporting the behaviour in line with workplace policies, making sure the person targeted is aware of and supports that intention.
It also makes clear the supportive role those in positions of formal leadership and management must play in making sure behaviours are addressed, dealt with promptly and escalated if necessary.
Good medical practice is intended as a framework to guide doctors when caring for patients and working with colleagues, allowing them to apply their professional judgement. It sets out the principles, values, and standards that are expected, including areas such as multi-disciplinary working and leadership, to help create workplaces which enable good teamwork.
Dame Carrie said:
‘Good medical practice must be a catalyst for creating supportive workplaces that will benefit patients as well as doctors. It sets the standards and professional behaviours that will help all doctors to provide the best possible care for their patients.’
The publication of the updated Good medical practice follows last year’s public consultation, the largest ever conducted by the GMC, on a draft version. It comes into effect from Tuesday 30 January 2024 and will apply to all doctors on the UK medical register.
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