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4.1 Show respect for patients

Surgeons must treat their patients as individuals, respectfully and considerately and make every effort to establish and maintain their trust at all times. In addition to the standards of Good Medical Practice you should:

  • Observe the relevant legislation and guidance to honour the wishes of a patient in your care. This includes carefully considering any advance decision (living will) that the patient may have written under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
  • Support any request for a second opinion and give assistance in making the appropriate arrangements.
  • Ensure that a patient’s dignity is respected at all times, for example with unconscious patients and in clinical demonstrations.
  • Obtain the patient’s verbal consent before carrying out any clinical examination, and support a patient’s request for a third person to be present while he or she is undergoing a clinical examination.
  • Explain the purpose and nature of any examination of the breast, genitalia or rectum and observe GMC guidance on intimate examinations.
  • Respect patients’ rights to privacy and confidentiality at all times, particularly when communicating publicly, including in the media. You should take particular care to protect patients’ confidentiality when using social media.

« Domain 4 - Maintaining trust
 Next: 4.2 Treat colleagues and patients fairly and without discrimination »


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