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a document signing image cbAugust 10 2017
Potential conflicts of interest have been addressed in new advice being sent out to health professionals. 

The joint guidance sets out the expectations of how doctors and other health and care professionals should act in relation to avoiding, declaring and managing actual or potential conflicts of interest. It has been signed by all nine of the health regulators overseen by the Professional Standards Authority.

This latest document supports existing General Medical Council guidance from 2013, on Financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest.

The new statement says the regulators expect health and social care professionals to:

  • Put the interests of people in their care before their own interests, or those of any colleague, business, organisation, close family member or friend.
  • Maintain appropriate personal and professional boundaries with the people they provide care to and with others.
  • Consider carefully where conflicts of interest may arise – or be perceived to arise – and seek advice if they are unsure how to handle this.
  • Be open about any conflict of interest they face, declaring it formally when appropriate and as early as possible, in line with the policies of their employer or the organisation contracting their services.
  • Ensure their professional judgement is not compromised by personal, financial or commercial interests, incentives, targets or similar measures.
  • Refuse all but the most trivial gifts, favours or hospitality if accepting them could be interpreted as an attempt to gain preferential treatment or would contravene your professional code of practice.
  • Where appropriate, ensure that patients have access to visible and easy-to-understand information on any fees and charging policies for which you are responsible.

GMC Chief Executive Charlie Massey commented: “Handling conflicts of interest can be a complex and tricky issue, and it is important for us as regulators to set out, in a clear and consistent way, what is expected of those working in health and care.

“The move towards more multi-disciplinary teams being involved in the care of patients makes a joined-up approach very important. This joint statement, backed up with helpful case studies, will ensure everyone is aware of what regulators expect.”

Links:
GMC announcement     
Joint statement                
GMC ‘Financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest guidance’                 

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