“What to expect from your doctor: a guide for patients” covers the standard of conduct that patients should expect and highlights the duty of doctors to make patient care their prime concern.
The new guide is based on the principles of Good medical practice; the GMC’s core ethical guide for doctors. Distributed to the 250,000 doctors on the medical register and used as a basis for medical standards in 14 countries, the guide is the main resource for registered doctors. Adapted from this publication, What to expect from your doctor explains the key duties of a doctor and covers patient concerns including;
What will my doctor tell me?
Training students and doctors
How doctors must use resources responsibly
How doctors must treat you with dignity and respect
The need for doctors to appraise their practice
The emergence of the guide is in response to the findings of the recent inquiry report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust which called for patients to be ‘put first.’ The trust was at the center of a major health scandal after it was found that up to 1,200 patients may have needlessly died from routine neglect. The subsequent inquiry led to a number of recommendations outlined within the Francis report in which Robert Francis QC calls for a service that ‘puts the patient first.’
Last year, the GMC reported that complaints by patients about doctors had hit a record high with 8,781 separate complaints recorded in 2011; a 23% increase in complaints from 2010. Among theses complaints, a significant number were in relation to how doctors interacted with their patients. Complaints about the communication of doctors had increased by 69% and complaints relating to a lack of respect rose by 45%.
Whilst recognising the medical professionals who have good relationships with their patients, Health Minister Dr Daniel Poulter commented in a statement to the GMC that there is much room for improvement;
‘The vast majority of doctors have an excellent relationship with their patients. However, the Francis report highlighted that there is much more we need to do to put patients at the heart of healthcare,” Health Minister Dr Daniel Poulter.
A revised version of the core guide for registered doctors was published on 25th of March and is currently being made available to doctors.
Niall Dickson, Chief Executive and Registrar of the General Medical Council commented to the GMC Press Office that doctors are responsible for a patient receiving both good medical treatment as well as compassionate care;
“The updated guidance for doctors makes clear that their responsibility goes beyond providing good clinical treatment – the doctor must take a lead role in making sure that patients receive high quality compassionate care.”
What to expect from your doctor: a guide for patients –
Good medical practice (available online)
Source: General Medical Council News
Image: RGB Freestock