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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

GMC Guidance on prescribing and on assisting suicide

The GMC have published new guidance on prescribing and on assisting suicide.

The guidance on prescribing provides advice on the medicine-related topics most frequently raised by doctors contacting the GMC, as well as issues featured in the fitness to practise investigations.

The guidance will come into effect on 25 February 2013, replacing previous GMC guidance on this subject. It covers issues including:

  • responsibility for prescribing, including repeat prescribing, and prescribing at the recommendation of a colleague or where a patient’s care is shared (for example between specialists and GPs)
  • making prescribing decisions based on adequate knowledge of the patient’s health and needs
  • prescribing unlicensed medicines and information for patients about such medicines
  • promoting patient safety by keeping up to date and reporting adverse drug reactions and medical device adverse incidents

The guidance is available to read on the website

Making and Using Visual and Audio Recordings of Patients

The General Medical Council (GMC) has published new guidance for doctors, Making and using visual and audio recordings of patients.


The guidance comes into effect on 9 May 2011, when it replaces the previous version of the guidance which was issued in 2002.


This new publication provides detailed guidance on situations where doctors make recordings of patients, which may be used for a variety of purposes. These might include, for example:


·            recordings made as part of a patient’s care

·            for teaching, training, or assessment of health professionals and students

·            research and development

·            recordings for use in widely accessible public media, such as on the internet or broadcast on radio or television.


The process to develop the guidance involved consultation with doctors, patients and the public, medical training and education organisations, and others with an interest in this topic. The GMC is very grateful to all who participated in the consultation at various stages throughout the review – this input has had a significant role in shaping the advice we have published.


You can view Making and using visual and audio recordings of patients on the GMC’s website at


Information about the development of the guidance is available on the GMC’s news and consultation pages at


Please pass on this email and links to the new guidance to anyone you think might be interested. If you have any questions about the new guidance, please contact the Standards and Ethics team on 020 7189 5404 or by email via


GMC Virtual Hearing Room

A new initiative has been launched to provide more support for those attending a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing into a doctor’s fitness to practise. An online hearing room allows patients, witnesses and doctors to take a virtual step inside a hearing. The site includes virtual versions of all those who might attend a hearing, such as lay and medical members of the panel. All 12 of these characters can be clicked on for an explanation of what role they play in a hearing.  The site also shows the reception area and waiting rooms for witnesses and doctors so that anyone attending a hearing can arrive feeling more comfortable with their surroundings.


The GMC is also launching a project to support vulnerable witnesses. This project allows witnesses to come into the GMC’s buildings in advance of the hearing and be shown around. They can also ask to be joined by an independent ‘friend,’ assigned on the day of the hearing, to provide support. The project builds on an existing section for witnesses on the GMC website with photos of the building and information about the processes which they can expect.


In addition the GMC has launched the Information for doctors initiative. This involves the provision of information to doctors whose cases are due to be considered by a Fitness to Practice Panel on the GMC website as well as a booklet about what to expect at a hearing.

Launch of new tutorials on GMP in Action website

The GMC has launched a new series of online tutorials that tackle ethically challenging scenarios. The tutorials, which include cases involving child protection, whistle blowing and addiction have been added to those already featured on GMP in Action, the GMC’s interactive learning website. This popular online resource explores common real-life medical and ethical dilemmas and explains how doctors should tackle the issues using the core GMC guidance, Good Medical Practice (GMP).

GMC Confidentiality Guidance - New Learning Materials

The GMC is launching new Confidentiality online learning materials which illustrate how the principles in the guidance might be applied in some of the situations doctors often encounter and find challenging. A number of scenarios are explored through case studies. The materials also include a Powerpoint presentation providing historical, ethical and legal context to the Confidentiality (2009) guidance. All can be downloaded for use in teaching and training.


For more information contact Farkhanda Maqbool on 020 7189 5416 or at

Launch of GMP2012 website - Message from GMC


In February 2011, we announced a review of Good Medical Practice (2006), our core guidance to doctors which sets out the standards, principles and values expected of doctors.


Today  we launch the GMP2012 website to continue the conversation about ‘what makes a good doctor?’ On these pages you can read:



  • what Good Medical Practice means to the Chief Executive of the GMC, a medical school ethics lead, the Chair of a Local Medical Committee, and the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland in their various roles.


  • personal views from the Chair of the GMC, Sister Donna Keenan and Lord Chris Smith about what makes a good doctor for them.


You can also take part in the onsite polls:


  • What makes a good doctor? Tells us and we will publish a selection of responses when we launch next month’s content.


  • What should Julia do? Julia is a GP in a busy practice who we will follow each month as she deals with issues and dilemmas in her role as a doctor and in her private life. Vote on what she should do: this month Julia encounters an accident on her way to work…


Each month we will publish new content on key issues and themes within Good Medical Practice, so please visit the website and get involved – you can also sign up to ensure that you are notified when new content is added to the website.


For more information on the review please contact the Standards & Ethics Team on 020 7189 5404 or by emailing

GMC Consultation on draft child protection guidance

This is your chance to have your say on new draft guidance for doctors, Protecting children and young people: the responsibilities of all doctors. Please follow this link for further details.

Protecting patients and supporting doctors: changing the way we work

We have received an update from the GMC covering;

  • Reform of our fitness to practise procedures and adjudication process
  • Moving cerification team to Manchester
  • Developing new guidance for doctors
  • Annual report

To see the update in full please click here


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