GMC revising Good Medical Practice guidance on professional standards

  • 29 Jun 2022
  • Jordan Marshall, Policy Manager

The General Medical Council (GMC) is consulting on revising its Good Medical Practice guidance, which is key to appraisal and revalidation. This article explains what the implications of this are and how you can share your views.

What is Good Medical Practice guidance?

GMC’s Good Medical Practice (GMP) guidance applies to all doctors in the UK registered with the GMC. There are 4 domains as part of the current guidance – knowledge skills and performance, safety and quality, communication partnership and teamwork, and maintaining trust.

It is central to the appraisal and revalidation process and is taken into account in Fitness to Practice cases too. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists also incorporates an understanding of GMP into ophthalmic specialist training.

What is changing?

GMC has highlighted four areas in its summary of the proposed changes:

  • Introducing a ‘duty to not abuse, discriminate against, bully, exploit, or harass anyone, or condone such behaviour by others.
  • Introducing a ‘new duty to find out what matters to patients’ to help guide discussions about care and treatment options
  • Emphasising ‘the need to show respect for the skills of all colleagues and to listen to their contributions’
  • Introducing a ‘new duty to encourage medical professionals to develop leadership skills appropriate to their role’.

One positive change we’d also like to highlight is the addition of a paragraph that emphasises the importance of clinical research and encourages doctors to offer research opportunities to patients. The proposed principle 39 says ‘Research…is vital in improving care and reducing uncertainty for patients now and in the future, and in improving the health of the population as a whole. You should tell patients if you are aware of opportunities for them to participate in appropriate research’.

More information on how you can become involved in research is available on the College website. We will continue to work with organisations, such as the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, to encourage NHS providers to do more to enable clinical research, including by providing appropriate protected research time in job planning.

GMC has produced a detailed table which lists out and explains all the proposed changes. We encourage members to familiarise themselves with these.

How can you share your views?

As a healthcare professional, GMC has produced a tailored survey to gather your views. They indicate this will take 15 minutes to complete, with a deadline of 20 July to do so.

If there are significant issues within the revised GMP guidance that you believe we need to raise directly with the GMC, please do contact me at [email protected]