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GPs' private life irrelevant

Patients do not care what GPs do in their private lives as long as it does not affect their work, a GMC consultation concludes.

A report detailing the findings of public meetings on proposed new Good Medical Practice guidelines found patients' trust in doctors was based on technical competence, respect for confidentiality and continuity of care.

The report, Setting Standards, published by the Picker Institute, also found doctors were concerned about the increasingly heavy demands on them.

Although doctors endorsed the principles of Good Medical Practice guidelines, many were concerned it would become too prescriptive and could become unattainable.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Harry Yoxall, secretary of Somerset LMC, said greater involvement of patients in decision making and more restrictions on funding could cause GPs problems if the GMC's standards were too rigid.

He said: 'The more prescriptive and detailed guidance gets, the more difficult it is to apply it to every circumstance you come across.'

The results of the consultation will be used by the GMC

to develop a new set of guidelines to be published later this year.

Dr Stefan Cembrowicz, a GP in Bristol, said the GMC's interpretation of the findings would be interesting to see.

He said: 'Obviously patients don't seem to mind about sex, but recreational drug use is still out. I'm sure we'll all bear that in mind.'

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