The RCP has responded to the General Medical Council's updated version of Good medical practice, the professional standards for all doctors in the UK.
Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said:
"We welcome the GMC's updated guidance as a framework for improving patient safety. However, we should be mindful that implementing new standards – although well-intentioned – must not add to the existing high demands facing the medical workforce. Nor should they present opportunities to unfairly criticise doctors who are already doing everything they can for their patients under extremely difficult circumstances.
“We know from our recent census that a worrying proportion of doctors are facing high levels of burnout amidst widespread consultant vacancies. Despite doctors’ best efforts, patient care is being impacted by substantial gaps in the workforce.
“We also support the GMC’s move to include guidance on sexual harassment for the first time. It is important that we foster a culture in which people feel able and are encouraged to speak up about harassment, bullying and discrimination, whether they experience it themselves or witness it.”
The current version of Good medical practice will continue to apply to doctors on the medical register until the updated version comes into effect on 30 January 2024.