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"Edward Cooper is mistaken that the principle of making the care of
your patients does not apply to doctors when they are assessing benefits
claimants on behalf of ATOS. Our guidance is for all doctors and in the
guidance we use the term 'patient' to refer to anyone whom doctors test,
treat or assess in their professional capacity as a doctor. This includes
amongst others, employees, benefits and insurance claimants, and athletes.
"The first duty of all doctors is 'to make the care of your patient
your first concern'. But that is not the only duty doctors must observe.
Being open and honest and acting with integrity is also an essential part
of medical professionalism. Good Medical Practice provides guidance, not a
set of rules, so doctors must use their judgement to apply the duties and
principles defined in our guidance to the various situations they face as
a doctor, whether or not they routinely see patients in a therapeutic or
any other role.
Dishonesty in writing reports cannot be justified by reference to the
first duty of doctors. Further advice on disclosing information for
employment, insurance and similar purposes can be found here: http://www.gmc-
No competing interests
07 March 2011
Assistant Director, Standards & Fitness to Practise Directorate
General Medical Council, 350 Euston Road, London, NW1 3JN