Responding to the publication of the revised Good medical practice (GMP) guidance from the General Medical Council, Dr John Holden, chief medical officer at MDDUS, said:
“As current events demonstrate, doctors will only feel empowered to speak out when they witness wrongdoing if they can have confidence their concerns will be heard and acted on by senior clinical leaders, NHS managers and the GMC itself.
“The GMC is clear it wants the revised version of GMP to be seen by doctors as a supportive document.
“It - quite rightly - goes as far as to state that doctors who witness unacceptable behaviour, including any form of bullying, discrimination or harassment, should do something about it.
“This is welcome, but of course GMP will be used in the real world. That has to mean that whenever the GMC believes a Trust is failing to support doctors voicing serious concerns it calls this out publicly and involves the Care Quality Commission.”
Dr Holden added: “The revised version we see today is the result of considerable consultation, which MDDUS was pleased to be a part of.
“Overall, this update is welcome and has many laudable aims not least the inclusion for the first time of a clear statement that doctors must treat patients kindly.
“Quite clearly this is something no one can disagree with. However, kindness is subjective, and we will monitor this closely to see how this develops in practice and whether it creates an increase in referrals to the GMC.”
The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) is a mutual organisation that protects the professional interests of more than 56,000 doctors and dentists across the United Kingdom, offering access to indemnity, support and legal advice.
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