Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Moral Compass by psd
I wanted to write a quick post to follow-up last week's discussion on the GMC consultation on Good Medical Practice. Several doctors commented that they were concerned that the line which said that they should act "at all times" in a manner that would not reduce trust in themselves or other doctors left them open to possible persecution over lifestyle choices.
For example Ditzy wrote:
"Most of us are up in arms over the ambiguity of what activities, in their private lives, the GMC felt was appropriate for them to regulate. A one off drunken dancing on the tables at the village pub? An affair with a married person? Multiple sexual partners? Frequenting the bookmakers? Falling out of nightclubs every Friday night? There simply is no guidance and any of these actions could, potentially, be said to bring the doctor and the profession into disrepute although none of them are illegal. "
I decided to go back and find out what the reaction was to the introduction of this clause in to the 2006 version of Good Medical Practice. The results of the official consultation are available here. This includes feedback from doctors and the wider public on the 2005 draft document (which unfortunately I can not locate). They note that:
"While honesty and trustworthiness within the doctor-patient relationship are perceived as important by the public, most people no longer appear to expect doctors to demonstrate moral excellence in all aspects of their lives, and it is widely recognised that they are ‘only human’. Some doctors also felt that expectations of probity, as set out in the draft document, are no longer appropriate."
So the GMC recognised in 2006 that the public did not expect 'moral excellence' of doctors.
But when the guidance was published it was reported in the Guardian, by Sarah Bosely, as being a "tougher ethical code". Why was this? Jane O'Brien, Head of Standards and Ethics for the GMC, is reported as saying that the GMC had been criticised for not giving clear enough guidance to doctors in the past, for example, about how long after a professional relationship ends would it be appropriate to start a sexual relationship with a patient. But Good Medical Practice was not intended to be a rule-book.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
The Passage of Time by TonyVC
The GMC, the body which regulates doctors in the UK, is consulting on the next version of Good Medical Practice. The consultation ends on Friday, 10th February, 2012 and you can learn more here. Since 2005 Good Medical Practice has been the core guidance for doctors on how they should act professionally. In a previous post written almost exactly 2 years ago I discussed the fact that the guidance states "You must make sure that your conduct at all times justifies your patients' trust in you and the public's trust in the profession." but does not make clear what kind of conduct might be expected to reduce confidence in a doctor or doctors as a whole. It is perhaps deliberately vague.
The last version of Good Medical Practice was issued in 2006. Times have changed since 2006 and in this consultation the GMC have started using social media to spread the word about the consultation and get some informal feedback. They have started a Facebook page and a twitter account, @gooddoctoruk.
There has been a lot of discussion of the consultation on Twitter, primarily around how much doctor's lives outside their hours working as a doctor should be regulated. Do we have to be professional "at all times"?
To get the debate going Shree Datta, co-chair of the British Medical Association's Junior Doctor's Committee wrote a piece on her thoughts around the current guidance on conduct outside of work. She thinks that in the current guidance there is "little reassuring detail" about what might be considered appropriate or inappropriate. She says: "The simple fact is that people make mistakes and it is unrealistic to expect doctors alone to remain flawless at all times in every aspect of life. Yet the current guidance suggests that that is what is expected of doctors and arguably does not ringfence our privacy or allow for our personal autonomy."
The GMC then asked the question "Do you think the GMC should regulate doctors lives outside medicine?" This was the response from 1167 people. 94% said No.
I came across sliderocket today and thought it looked very interesting. I found it browsing chrome extensions and it can be used as a Google app. There is also education licensing. There are interesting features like extensive analytics, feedback and polling allowed in presentations. But ... not in the free version. So this shows some of the more limited features.
What do you think? Any experience with this?