As a Solicitor who has expertise in the area of medical negligence law and who has also advised professionals, to include doctors and other medical practitioners, on both disciplinary and regulatory issues, I was interested to review the new Guide.
While the Guide is not legally binding, its introduction states that doctors who apply its principles, act in good faith and in the interests of their patient, whilst respecting their will and preference, will find themselves in a good position to justify their position if a concern is later raised regarding their practice. Accordingly, as was always the case, it is imperative, from a doctor’s perspective, that they are familiar with the guide and their duties and obligations as set out therein.
Notably, the Guide makes a very clear distinction between situations where there is an obligation on a doctor to do something and a situation where it is best practice for them to do so, whilst recognising that this might not always be possible. The word ‘must’ places an obligation on a doctor to do something, while the use of the word ‘should’ suggests best practice.
The following amendments are of interest: