Doctors as managers – new GMC consultation

  • Date: 24 March 2011

How do doctors deliver good patient care in a time of economic restraint?

This is just one of the questions being asked in a GMC consultation on its updated guidance, Good Management Practice: guidance for all doctors, and two pieces of supplementary guidance: Raising and acting on concerns about patient safety and Writing references.

In the main consultation the GMC seeks views on issues including commissioning services, dealing with conflicts of interest, team-working and performance management and the factors that should be taken into account when decisions have to be made about competing demands for resources.

The updated guidance also proposes that doctors with additional responsibility for managing resources or commissioning should have a more detailed knowledge of management processes and how they can impact on patient care and safety.

The draft guidance emphasises the duty of doctors to take part in appraisals, ahead of the start of revalidation next year. It sets out the duties of doctors with supervisory responsibilities to ensure they are giving their colleagues sufficient time to prepare for appraisals or performance reviews and to undertake training and development.

In the new draft supplementary guidance on raising and acting on concerns the consultation asks what more the GMC can do to encourage doctors to speak up about anything that compromises the safety of patients.

Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the GMC, said: "One of the challenges doctors are currently facing is how to deliver good patient care at a time of economic restraint. Every day, all doctors make decisions about balancing competing demands for resources. Our updated guidance is intended to help doctors make these decisions. We want to hear as many views as possible about the factors doctors should consider when making these difficult choices.

"We also want to hear whether our guidance on raising and acting on patient safety concerns can provide any further support for doctors. Doctors have a vital duty to raise any concerns about any practice they see which could be putting patients at risk. Senior doctors must encourage colleagues to raise concerns and must act on such concerns quickly and professionally."

The consultation is open until 3 June 2011. The full consultation is available from

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