GMC to go easier on doctors due to pandemic

The GMC has acted to try and allay doctors ’ concerns about being unfairly treated over their actions during the pandemic this winter.

In a joint statement with other regulators, it has re-iterated that it wants to support them and knows they will be making difficult decisions in very challenging circumstances.

‘That context is understood and will be considered by regulators,’ they say, and they go on to make five assurances:

  1. ‘We recognise that in highly challenging circumstances, professionals may need to depart from established procedures in order to care for patients and people using health and social care services.’ 
  2. ‘Our regulatory standards are designed to be flexible and to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations.’ 
  3. ‘We recognise that the individuals on our registers may feel anxious about how context is taken into account when concerns are raised about their decisions and actions in very challenging circumstances.’ 
  4. ‘Where a concern is raised about a registered professional, it will always be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working.’ 
  5. ‘We would also take account of any relevant information about resource, guidelines or protocols in place at the time.’


The statement also says: ‘As registered professionals, the first concern of the individuals on our registers will be the care of their patients and people who use health and social care services. 

‘We encourage health and social care professionals, working in partnership with each other and people using services, to use their professional judgement to assess risk and to deliver safe care informed by any relevant guidance and the values and principles set out in their professional standards.’

Profession-specific guidance will be provided as needed.

The statement is also signed by the General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Health and Care Professions Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland, and Social Work England.