I am writing to let you know that we have just issued the latest edition of our core guidance for doctors, Good medical practice. This is an update of the 2006 edition and, as before, sets out the standards expected of every doctor on our register.
What has changed in this edition?
With revalidation under way, every licensed doctor is required to have an annual appraisal based on Good medical practice. To reflect this, we have restructured the guidance under the same four headings used in appraisals.
We have also added some new duties including the need to ensure continuity of care – for example, by making sure that a named clinician or team has taken over responsibility for a patient's care when the doctor’s role has ended.
Other additions include making it explicit that doctors must take prompt action if a patient is not receiving basic care to meet their needs. We have also specified that doctors new to practice or in new roles should be willing to find and take part in structured support, such as mentoring, and that more experienced doctors should be willing to mentor others. And we have introduced guidance on the use of social media.
A clear message from our 2011 Good medical practice consultation was that doctors wanted the guidance to be brief and clear. As a result the updated edition is shorter, and we have moved more detailed advice on specific issues to separate explanatory guidance.
When will it come into effect?
Good medical practice 2013 will come into force from 22 April. By then, doctors should have read the document and should be applying these principles in their practice. New and updated learning tools will also be available on our website from that date.
How you can help
If your organisation refers to Good medical practice in any printed or online materials, please make sure that you only use the updated edition from 22 April.
If you or any of your staff have any questions, we would be pleased to help - the team responsible can be contacted on 020 7189 5404.
Thank you for any support you can give to this endeavour, including dissemination - we believe the standards we set are a vital underpinning of medical practice across the UK.
Chief Executive and Registrar