What you need to know about the proposed updates to the GMC’s core guidance for doctors – Good medical practice – and how to have your say.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has issued a consultation on its ‘core’ guidance for doctors, Good medical practice, which include potential significant updates, as outlined below. The guidance was last fully reviewed in 2013.

What is the GMC?

All doctors in the UK are subject to regulation by the GMC, which investigates any serious concern about a doctor’s fitness to practise and can restrict, suspend or terminate a doctor’s registration. You need GMC registration to work as a doctor in the UK.

Good medical practice sets out what is expected of all doctors registered with the GMC.

The GMC also publishes separate guidance for medical students, which outlines the standards expected of you – both inside and outside medical school. It also shows how Good medical practice can apply to you as a student. Read more on why professionalism matters.

student marketing FTP statistic Remember, as well as member benefits and help and advice on your specific situation, we can also help explain your professional obligations when it comes to the law and relevant GMC guidance. Student members can contact us any time.

We want to hear your views on the new guidance so we can consider them as part of the consultation.

What's being proposed?

We’ve outlined some of the key updates in the draft guidance below.

  • The four domains under which the GMC’s guidance is grouped have been changed to: working with colleagues, working with the public, professional capabilities and maintaining trust.
  • New guidance on bullying states that registrants must not ‘abuse, discriminate against, bully, exploit, or harass anyone, or condone such behaviour by others’. This applies to all interactions, including on social media. 
  • A new duty on providing safe care regardless of whether a consultation is delivered face-to-face or remotely. The draft guidance says: ‘Whether you provide clinical care in a face-to-face setting, or through remote consultations via telephone, video-link, or online services, you must provide safe and effective care. Where possible, you should agree with the patient which mode of consultation is most suitable to their individual needs and circumstances.’
  • Advice on social media including being honest and trustworthy, making reasonable checks on the information published to make sure it is not misleading, being clear about the limits of your knowledge and respecting patient confidentiality.

How to have your say

We’ll be scrutinising the significant changes being proposed to ensure the guidance is compatible with the realities of your working lives.

We also want to hear your views on the new guidance so we can consider them as part of the consultation.

  • Do you think the new updates are an accurate reflection of medical practice? What are your thoughts on the new additions? Is there anything else you’d want to see changed or acknowledged?

To share your views, email us at editor@themdu.com by 20 June 2022.

Speaking about the new draft, director of MDU medical services Dr Caroline Fryar said:

"Doctors across the UK are working harder than ever – in a system that is constantly being tried and tested. Regulations, sets of rules and guidance documents must be compatible with the realities of doctors’ daily working lives, and support them to get on with the job of safely caring for patients.

"Good medical practice is at the core of everything the GMC does – setting the professional behaviours and care standards it expects of all doctors practising in the UK. It is one of the central tools used by the GMC in its fitness to practise processes, so every paragraph, and every single word, in the guidance document matters. In this consultation, the GMC is proposing significant changes while also making a number of additions.

"We look forward to thoroughly engaging with this consultation over the coming months – ensuring the guidance delivers for doctors, so they can deliver for patients."

This page was correct at publication on 24/05/2022. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.