General Medical Council – good medical practice consultation opens to physician associates

The General Medical Council (GMC) has launched a 12-week consultation on the content of Good medical practice. The updated guidance builds on the principles of the interim standards for physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs) that were published last year and will replace them when it comes into effect in 2023.

Like the interim standards, Good medical practice (GMP) is written as a series of high-level principles, which, can be applied flexibly across the complex, varied, high-demand systems that PAs and AAs work in. It’s designed to help PAs navigate the professional and ethical challenges they face throughout their careers.

Throughout the review of the guidance, the GMC has focused on making sure the principles are relevant to all roles they’ll regulate in the future. So, in the consultation, PAs will have an opportunity to tell them how this would work in practice, as a PA or as a supervisor to PAs.

The updated guidance places even greater focus on behaviours between colleagues and interactions with patients which are compassionate, civil, inclusive, and fair.

Speaking about the consultation, Mikaela Carey, FPA secretary said ‘This is an opportunity for the GM to function and support the multi-disciplinary team and it’s diverse range of registrants and patients. Historically, PA skills, knowledge, safety and values have aligned with GMP, however, our formal inclusion marks a new chapter for PAs. I hope that the review of the GMP considers the current working environment, expectations and safety of patients; whilst also looking to the future to provide assurance for patients and registrants.’

This new guidance emphasises the importance of supporting PAs to develop leadership skills appropriate to their role, the need to show respect for the skills of all colleagues, and to listen to their contributions.

In all, the draft updated Good medical practice runs to 16 pages. It provides detailed guidance for medical professionals covering areas including ‘working with colleagues’, ‘working with patients’, ‘professional capabilities’, and ‘maintaining trust’.

The GMC’s consultation on the draft updated Good medical practice runs until 20 July 2022. Your views are crucial because this guidance will apply to you when you’re regulated by the GMC, and they need to ensure it’s going to support you.