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Only doing my duty?

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 14 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:965
  1. Gwen Adshead
  1. Lecturer Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF

    The GMC's new guidance on doctors' professional and ethical duties

    This week, the General Medical Council publishes its guidance to doctors on their professional duties.1 Previously, doctors seeking clarification about ethical dilemmas would have turned to the Council's “Blue Book”2; a thin volume from which it was sometimes difficult to extract user-friendly information. This may have contributed to a perception of the General Medical Council as a grim institution filled with medical grandees handing out discipline like a Victorian grandparent.

    The “Blue Book” placed little emphasis on relationships in health care and seemed to make ethical dilemmas somewhat peripheral to good practice. By contrast, in Duties of a Doctor good relationships with patients and observance of ethical obligations become essential elements of medical practice. This is an important development; by putting ethics and the doctor patient relationship at the heart of good practice, a doctor …

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