New GMC guidance on Leadership and Management (2012)

The General Medical Council has published new guidance on leadership and management for doctors that spells out their responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of patients when performing non-clinical duties. Leadership and Management for All Doctors, which comes into effect on 12 March, is available on the GMC website at

The guidance sets out the wider management and leadership responsibilities of doctors in the workplace, including in relation to employment issues, teaching and training, planning, using and managing resources, raising and acting on concerns and participating in service improvement and development. The principles in the guidance apply to all doctors regardless of whether they work directly with patients or whether they have a formal management role.

Doctors are still accountable to the GMC for their non-clinical duties, such as their behaviour as a manager, the guidance states.

The guidance states that being a good doctor involves more than simply being a good clinician. It involves commitment to improving the quality of services and to demonstrate leadership in managing and using resources effectively.

Doctors should also respect their colleagues and tackle discrimination where it arises, it adds.

The guidance reinforces that doctors should be prepared to contribute to discussions and decisions about the allocation of resources and the setting of priorities in any organisation in which you work and the commissioning of services for the wider population of patients.

The guidance also contains a section on allocating resources, in particular exploring some of the areas that doctors will need to think about when resources are limited, including:

  • Considering the needs of patients AND the wider population.
  • Being familiar with local and national policies on access to treatments.
  • Making sure that decisions about access to care are based on clinical need and the likely effectiveness of treatments.
  • Being honest with patients about then decision making process.

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