New professional standards for doctors, developed to meet the modern demands of medicine and drive culture change, come into effect from today (30 January 2024).
The updated version of Good medical practice, issued by the General Medical Council (GMC), details the principles, values and standards expected of doctors. It takes effect after a five-month familiarisation period, following its publication last August.
It sees the first substantial changes to the document since 2013.
Updates have been made in five key areas: creating respectful, fair and compassionate workplaces; promoting patient centred care; helping to tackle discrimination; championing fair and inclusive leadership; and supporting continuity of care and safe delegation.
Last year, the GMC announced the updated guidance would state that doctors ‘must not act in a sexual way towards colleagues with the effect or purpose of causing offence, embarrassment, humiliation or distress’. This added to existing guidance that doctors must not act in a sexual way towards patients or use their professional position to ‘pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship’.
New additions have also been made on what to do if doctors, including those in leadership and management positions, witness any forms of bullying, harassment or discrimination.
Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the GMC, said:
“Good medical practice is the most important document we publish, and the feedback we’ve received is clear: positive culture is a golden thread running throughout. By focusing on compassionate, fair workplaces where people feel empowered to speak up, we lay a solid foundation for teamwork and ultimately, safer care for patients.
“Good medical practice sets out a collaborative and shared understanding of what is expected of doctors working in the UK. It should be a catalyst for creating supportive workplaces that will benefit patients as well as doctors, and will help guide medical professionals through the challenges they face today and into the future.”
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