Doctors across the UK are being reminded to practise good record keeping to prevent professional difficulties whilst working under extraordinary circumstances.
The UK-wide medical defence organisation MDDUS has seen a number of calls to its advice line from members concerned about making decisions during times of industrial action and delays in the NHS.
The advice comes as the Chair of the General Medical Council (GMC), Professor Carrie MacEwen, wrote to doctors saying, "we are committed to taking account of the circumstances in which doctors are working", and encouraged professionals to record decisions "taking in the context of these extraordinary pressures."
Dr John Holden, Chief Medical Officer at MDDUS, said:
"During these difficult times, healthcare professionals are finding themselves providing care to patients under more challenging circumstances.
"This is understandably causing anxiety amongst doctors, who, in emergencies, must think quickly and make decisions they wouldn't usually have to make.
"Doctors should feel confident in using their professional judgement to act in their patients' best interest but must also ensure that they record their reasons for a particular course of action and the nature of the unusual circumstances clearly and accurately.
"If a doctor is ever facing a challenging decision, and they don't know how to act, they should contact their medical defence organisation for advice and support."
Notes to editors
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.
This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.