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Duties of a doctor registered with the General Medical Council

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Patients must be able to trust doctors with their lives and well-being. To justify that trust, we as a profession have a duty to maintain a good standard of practice and care and to show respect for human life. In particular as a doctor you must:

  • make the care of your patient your first concern;
  • treat every patient politely and considerately;
  • respect patients' dignity and privacy;
  • listen to patients and respect their views;
  • give patients information in a way they can understand;
  • respect the rights of patients to be fully involved in decisions about their care;
  • keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date;
  • recognise the limits of your professional competence;
  • be honest and trustworthy;
  • respect and protect confidential information;
  • make sure that your personal beliefs do not prejudice your patients' care;
  • act quickly to protect patients from risk if you have good reason to believe that you or a colleague may not be fit to practise;
  • avoid abusing your position as a doctor; and
  • work with colleagues in the ways that best serve patients' interests.

In all these matters you must never discriminate unfairly against your patients or colleagues. And you must always be prepared to justify your actions to them.


  1. General Medical Council (August 2005)

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