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NHS reforms prompt GMC review of doctors’ rulebook

By Gareth Iacobucci

The GMC has launched the first major review of its Good Medical Practice guidance for five years – as it looks to address the ‘major change in the delivery of healthcare’ currently taking place.

The Council is seeking feedback on possible changes to the guidance, which was last reviewed in 2006, in order to establish how the Government’s root and branch reform of the NHS and the onset of revalidation will impact upon the way doctors work.

The consultation will ask professionals, patients and the public to suggest areas where the guidance could be improved, to ensure it is relevant to all doctors, and reflects what patients want from their doctor.

Participants are being invited to fill in an online questionnaire on the GMC’s website to give their thoughts on issues such as whether the current guidance gives enough weight to patients’ needs and rights.

The questionnaire also asks how the guidance could be made more relevant for doctors in training and for doctors in non-clinical roles.

Niall Dickson, GMC chief executive, said: ‘Good Medical Practice has a vital role to play in keeping patients safe and improving professional standards.

‘The current edition has been used by countries all over the world which look to the UK as a leader in ethical principles for doctors. But we do need to make sure our guidance is up to date and reflects changes in the way healthcare is delivered. That is why we are anxious to hear the views of patients, doctors and others working in healthcare about how doctors should be practising today.’

Gill Bellord, director for core services at NHS Employers, said: ‘Good Medical Practice will have an increasingly important role in shaping the support provided by employers for doctors. It will be used to structure appraisals which are due to become a central part of the new system of revalidation and will address the role of doctors who themselves are working in a non-clinical setting as a manager.’

Following the initial review, the GMC plans to launch a major public consultation on the new draft of the guidance between October 2011 to January 2012.

NHS reforms prompt GMC review of doctors’ rulebook