Revised Good Medical Practice guidance must be mindful of constraints on doctors and the settings in which they work

MDDUS have responded to the General Medical Council (GMC) consultation on the revised Good medical practice (GMP) guidelines.

The GMC's core guidance for doctors sets out the values and principles on which good practice is founded. MDDUS’ response recognises that there are several limitations that need to be considered in the revised GMP for which only employers, educators, and government can be responsible.

Dr John Holden, Chief Medical Officer at MDDUS, said: “There are encouraging recommendations in the revised GMP consultation draft. MDDUS have identified areas where resource pressures, such as inadequate staffing levels or funding, may make these difficult for medical professionals to deliver.

“It's imperative that the GMC communicate throughout the guidance that registrants can only be expected to deliver their responsibilities with support from trusts, employers, and commissioners. The GMC must make it clear that exceptional circumstances may require exceptional judgments and actions.

“This assurance must be at the front and centre of the revised GMP document. Clarity around this would provide support and reassurance to registrants.

“Doctors must be able to take assurance from the guidance if they are to regard it as a supportive guide rather than a rule book.”

ENDS

Notes to editor:

The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) is a mutual organisation that protects the professional interests of more than 54,000 doctors and dentists across the United Kingdom, offering access to indemnity, support and legal advice.

MDDUS has identified several areas in the revised GMP where we are asking the GMC to reconsider or review the proposed wording. Some of these revisions include:

Kindness

We recognise that ‘kindness’ is an attribute to which all members of society, not least health professionals, should aspire to and strive towards. ‘Kindness’ is a subjective term and concept. The kindness of the doctor, when addressing a patient’s best interests, may be perceived by the patient as an act of unkindness. As such, we do not agree that ‘kindness’ should be included as a professional duty.

Action against bullying, harassment and discrimination

It must be recognised by GMC that it may be difficult for an individual in oppressive circumstances to take action if they witness bullying, harassment or unfair discrimination. Registrants must feel supported by the GMC rather than judged. Trusts, commissioners and employers must fulfil their responsibilities by producing appropriate in-house guidance and policies to support health professionals.

Language and inclusion needs

We agree that medical professionals must take all reasonable steps to meet language and communication needs of patients. However, this requirement must be mindful of the availability of resources, such as interpreters, as well as funding. The duties of trusts and commissioners must again be communicated to registrants for their assurance that the full context of their work and the attendant constraints are being met.

For further information please contact Lisa Walker, communications manager, on lwalker@mddus.com on 07976 886552.

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