Conflicts of interest statement for healthcare professionals

DOCTORS and dentists should refuse “all but the most trivial gifts” from patients, according to a joint statement on conflicts of interest.

Healthcare professionals are advised not to accept a gift if it could be interpreted as an attempt to gain preferential treatment or would contravene their professional code of practice.

They are also expected to be open about any conflicts of interest and formally declare them as early as possible. They should put the interests of patients ahead of their own interests, or those of any colleague, business, organisation, relative or friend.

The guidance comes in a joint statement signed by nine regulators including the General Medical Council, the General Dental Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

It says: “Conflicts can arise in situations where someone’s judgement may be influenced, or perceived to be influenced, by a personal, financial or other interest.”

The statement is intended to support the standards or code for each profession and any additional guidance they may have. These professional standards, codes and additional guidance, it explains, should be the over-riding consideration for professionals. It adds: “We believe that given the increasing move towards multi-disciplinary teams, there is great value in working together for a consistent approach.”

The regulators plan to promote the statement to registrants, students and to the public and will support it with case studies.

Read the full statement and case study on the GDC’s website