Professional misconduct of doctors is based on a variety of factors. The General Medical Council (GMC) has a set of rules and regulations that doctors must comply with. In cases where a doctor does not follow the given code of conduct, they will face serious consequences.
As a new doctor, it’s rather challenging to follow all the unsaid rules. You might consider some acts as normal behavior, which are in fact regarded as unprofessional and can come at the cost of facing a penalty. If you are a new doctor, you should consider enrolling in a professional ethics course for doctors so that you do not make any blunders.
Identifying an act of misconduct is a challenging task in some cases. However, in some cases, an act of misconduct is evident. It is obvious and does not need any further investigation. These cases include:
The problem arises when a doctor makes a mistake as a separate individual, outside the workplace, which is unrelated to their practice in medicine. Whether or not their personal etiquette will impact their career is not crystal clear and depends on multiple variables. For instance, if a doctor uses foul language with someone outside the place of work, will they be held accountable for that by the GMC? In such cases, there is a case law that assists in understanding the status of that particular scenario.
GMC’s protocol holds a medical doctor responsible under the code of conduct to display professional and appropriate etiquette in their work and private lives. Whether the GMC moves forward with an investigation for misconduct outside the workplace or not depends on the degree of failure and the extent of the doctor’s demeanor.
If a doctor is found to be using profane language and vulgarities on various occasions, it would confirm that the doctor is habitual of depicting an unsatisfactory attitude. Such attitudes are bound to meddle with their professional behavior sooner or later.
Surprisingly enough, there is no definition of misconduct by the book, not even in the Medical Act, 1983, which is the fundamental legislation governing the MPTS and GMC. Hence, countless appeal courts have been urged to set out their opinions on the phenomenon.
Before the amendments of the 1983 Act, a doctor was held accountable only if their acts were explicitly defined as serious professional misconduct. However, after the amendment, the word serious was omitted from the statute.
This resulted in a change in the consequences of misconduct. Wherever there is a case of misconduct, whether severe or minor, GMC should be involved.
Once a doctor abides by the rules and practices within all ethical boundaries, it gets easier for the patients to trust the doctors with their lives. This trust is essential for a doctor-patient relationship for fair treatment of the patient.
These are the GMC-prescribed guidelines for all doctors to follow:
Doctors must make their patients’ care their first concern and provide a good standard of practice. They should keep their skills and knowledge up to date and work within their areas of competence.
Whenever a patient’s safety or dignity is being compromised, a doctor must take prompt action. They should protect the well-being of their patients by all means.
Doctors should be honest with the patients and never put their integrity into question. They should treat all patients and colleagues alike without any sort of discrimination.
All doctors are professionally and ethically accountable for their practice, and they must be ready to justify their actions and decisions.
At Probity and Ethics, we offer online professional ethics courses for doctors and all healthcare practitioners. These courses will help you learn about all the moral codes and ensure the safety of your career. If you are a new doctor, enroll in one of our courses to learn about all the ethics that you need to implement in your practice.