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RCS England welcomes updated GMC standards that include stopping sexual harassment 

22 Aug 2023

The General Medical Council (GMC) has today published an update of Good medical practice, which details the principles, values and standards expected of doctors working in the UK. It is the first major update to the guidance in 10 years. 

Sexual harassment of colleagues is covered explicitly for the first time in the updated standards. It says doctors ‘must not act in a sexual way towards colleagues with the effect or purpose of causing offence, embarrassment, humiliation or distress’. The guidance also sets out what doctors should do if they witness bullying or harassment. 

Responding to the new guidance, Mr Tim Mitchell, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:  

“I am particularly pleased to see specific guidance in Good medical guidance on preventing bullying and sexual harassment. There is no place for these abhorrent behaviours in UK medicine and they bring shame to the profession. We need to be creating a work environment where every person feels welcome, safe and protected. The GMC’s new standards send a strong message to the profession that these behaviours will not be tolerated.  

“Good medical practice is the foundation upon which all doctors in the UK base their practice. It provides the compass by which we navigate the ethical issues we can face in giving patients the best possible care. The last decade has seen many changes in medicine and with that an evolving medical workforce. It is important that the profession has an up to date set of standards that reflects those changes.  

"At RCS England, we have started to review our own core standards document, Good Surgical Practice, to make sure it reflects changes to the GMC’s guidelines and that it takes into account the lessons learnt by the surgical profession in recent years.”  


Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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