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Note on terminology

Good Surgical Practice uses the same headings that appear in Good Medical Practice, which came into effect on 22 April 2013.

In Good Medical Practice, the terms ‘you must’ and ‘you should’ are used in the following ways:

  • ‘You must’ is used for an overriding duty or principle.
  • ‘You should’ is used when the General Medical Council is providing an explanation of how you will meet the overriding duty.
  • ‘You should’ is also used where the duty or principle will not apply in all situations or circumstances, or where there are factors outside your control that affect whether or how you can follow the guidance.

The same convention is used in this document.

‘Ensure’ is used where surgeons must do what is reasonably within their control to make sure that the event takes place.

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