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23 July 2022
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FMLM responds to the GMC's consultation on Good Medical Practice (GMP)

FMLM welcomes the updated Good medical practice (GMP), which takes several steps to give greater clarity to regulatory guidance for the UK medical profession, as well as embracing the important themes which have challenged the culture of UK healthcare.

The new domain introductions are a positive new feature of the updated guidance and signpost the key duties and expectations in each section. This makes it easier to search and navigate the expected leadership behaviours threaded through GMP and draw alignment with other professional guidance.

The changes introduced by the GMC to better identify those behaviours and responsibilities which might otherwise work against the advance of equality, diversity, and inclusion for patient care, as well as for the workforce, are welcomed.

Overall, the more defined use of language (namely the different application of ‘should’ and ‘must’) is generally more likely to reduce misinterpretation of the standards of behaviour expected of medical professionals.

However, FMLM has identified discrepancies in relation to guidance which ‘should’ and ‘must’ be adhered to for the leadership and management components of GMP and might be open to misinterpretation.

Given the evidence that clearly demonstrates the positive link between medical leadership, better patient outcomes and organisational performance, it would seem erroneous to suggest doctors (and soon to be physician and anaesthesia associates) should develop leadership skills appropriate to their role (point 62), especially when (in points 48 and 53) stating doctors must be competent in all aspects of their work, including formal leadership roles, and they must keep their professional knowledge and skills up to date.

With up to 40 per cent of the medical appraisal reflecting the leadership competencies of doctors, as well as their clinical professionalism, we would argue this needs greater emphasis in the guidance.

It is important to note, while GMP does not mention them, FMLM’s Leadership and Management Standards for Medical Professionals were developed to underpin the principles of GMP, as well as the guidance in the GMC’s Leadership and management for all doctors. The update of GMP does not change any of the values and behaviours outlined in the FMLM Standards as essential for individual doctors, teams, organisations and wider healthcare systems, to demonstrate effective leadership and address regulatory requirements.

With the continued political focus on medical leadership and management – notably the implementation of the recommendations from the Messenger Review – clear Standards in medical leadership and management remain vital.

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