Doctors with extra responsibilities to promote openness


For immediate release: Wednesday, 14 March 2012

UK-wide medical defence organisation MDDUS welcomes new GMC guidance requiring doctors with management responsibilities to encourage staff to be open and honest when raising patient safety concerns.

The new guidance Raising and acting on concerns about patient safety comes into force this week and, while the main focus concerns the duty of all doctors to act when they believe patient safety might be at risk, the guidance also gives advice on how doctors with greater responsibilities should act.

MDDUS senior medical adviser Dr John Holden believes that the GMC guidance will help doctors in management roles deal with patient concerns that are raised by staff.

He says: “Those with management and clinical governance responsibilities must ensure that there are systems and policies in place that not only allow staff to raise concerns, but have these concerns investigated promptly and fully.

“As a manager, you are expected to promote an understanding of the duty that staff have to be open and honest about incidents or complaints.

“Ultimately, the safety and care of patients cannot be compromised.”

The GMC guidance requires that management ensure clinical staff understand their duty to be open and honest about complaints with both patients and managers.

“If there is a clearly defined system in place, then staff will feel more comfortable raising concerns,” adds Dr Holden. “The guidance is designed to protect staff who raise concern from unfair criticism or action.

“Regardless of whether or not you are in a management position, if you are unsure how to act on a concern you should seek advice from an impartial colleague, a more senior member of staff or your medical defence organisation.”

To see the new guidance in full, visit the GMC website or click on the link


For further information contact Richard Hendry on 0845 270 2034 or 07976 272266, or email We are now on twitter. Follow us @MDDUS_News

Note to editors

MDDUS (The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland) is a medical and dental defence organisation providing access to professional indemnity and expert medico- and dento-legal advice for doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals throughout the UK. For further information on MDDUS go to

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