Evidence from GMC standards and guidance

Evidence from GMC standards and guidance

The following comments are suggestions for areas the Committee’s inquiry may find useful to explore. These are suggestions from the professional standards that we set for doctors, and the evidence we gathered during recent work to update our core guidance on Good medical practice. It may be that in some rural areas there is a greater reliance on remote consultations and remote prescribing. We updated our guidance on Prescribing to emphasise that doctors must follow our guidance regardless of whether they are prescribing in person or remotely and that if they can’t meet the standards we set it may be appropriate to offer an alternative mode for the consultation to ensure safe care that meets our standards. This may be a challenge in some remote settings where there is a lack of alternatives. In Good medical practice, which sets out the standards of professional behaviour and patient care expected from doctors, we say doctors must wherever possible avoid providing medical care to themselves or anyone with whom they have a close personal relationship (paragraph 16g). This is a ‘should’ and not a ‘must’ as we recognise there are circumstances where it may be necessary in order to provide patient care, for example, providing care in remote and rural areas where access to healthcare may be more limited. Doctors must still be prepared to justify the decisions they make and the actions they take. As part of work to update our Good medical practice guidance, we ran a public consultation in 2022. During our consultation, we've heard from a wide range of patients and members of the public, doctors, physician associates and anaesthesia associates, and healthcare organisations across the UK. In total, over 4600 individuals took part in either our main survey or our short surveys for healthcare professionals and patients. And we spoke to over 3800 people at the virtual and in-person events we ran. Issues around remote and rural practice did not arise in large number in the GMP consultation. Where they were mentioned, it was in the context of our guidance on: • personal relationships between doctors and patients (potentially harder to avoid in rural communities) • ending professional relationships (there may be no alternative provision within a reasonable distance) • doctors registering with the practice at which they work (again, due to lack of alternatives)


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