The new draft requires doctors to take a lead role in making sure a patient's safety; comfort and dignity are always maintained throughout their care. It is suggested that doctors should have a greater influence over all areas of patient care, including being responsible for continuity of care where they are a patient's lead clinician. Doctors are called to take prompt action to deal with problems with basic care, particularly for patients who are unable to drink, feed or clean themselves. Doctors must also offer help if they think a child or vulnerable adult's rights might have been abused or denied.
Niall Dickinson, Chief Executive of the GMC, has said that "this guidance makes clear that a doctor's responsibilities do not begin and end with providing clinical treatment. They have a vital role to play to improve standards of basic care. When this goes wrong, as it did at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and elsewhere, patients can face serious harm."
The new draft of Good Medical Practice includes some new advice to doctors covering:
- behaviour online and the use of social networking sites;
- taking into account a patient's broader history, including spiritual, religious, psychological, social and cultural factors; and
- encouraging patients to stay in or return to employment or other purposeful activity.
In response to recommendations from doctors and patients that it should be more concise and more patient centred, the revised edition of Good Medical Practice is considerably shorter than the current guidance. The consultation asks doctors and patients to answer a number of questions, including if doctors should avoid treating themselves and those close to them.
Niall Dickinson has emphasised the importance of hearing from patients and doctors across the UK about the new standards that are being proposed.
You can read about the different ways to take part in the consultation - Help us review Good Medical Practice 2012, which runs until 10 February 2012.
In line with the theme in the new draft of Good Medical Practice, the GMC has also announced plans to produce guidance on Good Medical Practice for Patients. It is proposed that such guidance will make it clear exactly what patients can expect from their doctors. This general trend towards “patient centred guidance” is illustrative of the wider changes taking place within the NHS at present.
The consultation runs until 10 February 2012.