Consultation on core GMC guidance now underway

A major consultation on core standards for doctors set out in the GMC’s Good Medical Practice is now underway.

Comments on the new draft guidance are being invited from doctors and patients across the UK.

Among revisions in the new draft, doctors are being asked to take a lead role in making sure that the safety, comfort and dignity of patients are maintained with greater emphasis on continuity of care.

Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the GMC, said: "This guidance makes clear that a doctor's responsibilities do not begin and end with providing clinical treatment. They have a vital role to play to improve standards of basic care. When this goes wrong, as it did at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and elsewhere, patients can face serious harm.

Good Medical Practice is about more than setting a minimum 'bar' below which standards of practice must not fall, or against which disciplinary action is taken. It must be a means of promoting excellent care and fostering the leadership and commitment that lie at the heart of medical professionalism."

The revised edition is considerably shorter than the current guidance in response to recommendations from doctors and patients that it should be more concise and patient-centred. It also includes new advice to doctors covering issues such as behaviour online and the use of social networking sites and encouraging patients to stay in or return to employment or other purposeful activity.

In addition to guidance for doctors the GMC also plans to produce for the first time a Good Medical Practice for Patients making it clear what patients should expect from their doctor.

Read the draft guidance and find out about the different ways to take part in the consultation on the GMC website. The consultation will run until 10 February 2012.