Medical students have responsibilities above and beyond those of other University students. The award of a medical degree automatically entitles the graduate to be provisionally registered by the General Medical Council and to practise under supervision as a doctor.
As a doctor you will have very important responsibilities to your patients with an over-riding aim of preventing exposing them to harm. This responsibility is monitored by the General Medical Council (GMC) and if they find that a doctor has been derelict in this responsibility they may erase his or her name from their register thereby depriving the doctor of his or her livelihood.
By awarding a medical degree a university is therefore confirming that the graduate is fit to practise to the high standards laid down by the GMC in its guidance to the medical profession, Good Medical Practice, 2013 [http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/index.asp.
The programme of studies which medical students follow brings them into contact with patients and others and this carries with it a number of responsibilities. Early in the programme students will be made aware of the standards set by the GMC which will apply to them as future doctors. Students should also be aware of one of the goals of medical education as stated by the GMC in Tomorrow’s Doctors, which is for students to acquire and demonstrate attitudes for the achievement of high standards of medical practice, both in relation to the provision of care for individuals and populations and to his or her own personal development.
The General Medical Council (GMC) has in the last few years issued a number of important documents of relevance to undergraduate medical training including:
Outcomes for graduates (originally published in Tomorrow’s Doctors) sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that new UK medical graduates must be able to show. The GMC is happy Leeds Medical School is fully compliant with its current standards for education and training (see: http://www.gmc-uk.org/).
Medical students: professional behaviour and fitness to practise (2009) indicates the key elements in student fitness to practise arrangements. You are urged to download and read this document at: http://www.gmc-uk.org/education/undergraduate/professional_behaviour.asp
Duties of a Doctor, provides guidance to all doctors. Its opening remarks include the sentence; Patients must be able to trust doctors with their lives and well-being. To justify that trust, we as a profession have a duty to maintain a good standard of practice and care and to show respect for human life. The Medical School follows the guidance of this publication during undergraduate training and it will be referred to frequently during the curriculum.
To justify that trust, we as a profession have a duty to maintain a good standard of practice and care and to show respect for human life. In particular as a doctor you must:
- Make the care of your patient your first concern;
- Treat every patient politely and considerately;
- Listen to patients and respect their views;
- Give patients information in a way they can understand;
- Respect the rights of patients to be fully involved in decisions about their care;
- Keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date;
- Recognise the limits of your professional competence;
- Be honest and trustworthy;
- Respect and protect confidential information;
- Make sure that your personal beliefs do not prejudice your patients’ care;
- Act quickly to protect patients from risk if you have good reason to believe that you or a colleague may not be fit to practise;
- Avoid abusing your position as a doctor; and
- Work with colleagues in the ways that best serve patients’ interest.
Conduct or behaviour which compromises that trust would be deemed unprofessional and would be dealt with seriously by the School.
These pages give an indication to medical students as to the areas where their health or conduct may be considered by the School of Medicine to be unacceptable. It must be stressed that medical students’ behaviour must be appropriate at all times and not just when on hospital or university premises.