As a surgeon, you must fulfil many professional responsibilities. Your Trust will have guidance on many of these; this page provides some additional information on some areas that you might find useful.
Guidance on good practice
The GMC provides information on good practice, including ethical guides. Your trust will also have regulations and protocols that you should follow.
Good Surgical Practice
Good Surgical Practice (GSP) sets standards for surgeons. The standards set out in GSP complement those required of all doctors by the GMC as set out in Good Medical Practice. GSP is intended for all surgeons and for the benefit of patients. Standards set out in the document may be used by surgeons to confirm their good practice and may be used as a framework for providing evidence for appraisal and revalidation. GSP recognises the importance of individual and team performance and on the requirements for adequate resources and time.
Continuing Professional Development
In addition to the above, you also have responsibilities to maintain your clinical and professional skills and knowledge. Information about this can be found in our CPD section.
NHS organisations are accountable for continually improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish. Standards are set nationally and Trust Chief Executives are ultimately responsible for assuring the quality of Trust services.
As a surgeon, you will be required to take part in regular clinical governance meetings and you will be expected to report in an open and honest manner, any clinical errors or near misses from your clinical team.
As a doctor, you must protect patients from risk of harm posed by yourself or any other healthcare professional. If you have concerns about your own or a colleague's fitness to practice, and consider that patients may be at risk, you have a duty to report this to the appropriate person. You should follow Trust procedures where they are in place, but if they are not, or you are not satisfied with the local arrangements, you must inform an appropriate authority - for example, the NCAS, or the GMC.
Dealing with Complaints
You may be involved in complaints procedures within your Trust, or you may have a complaint made against you or members of your team.
Receiving a complaint against you or a member of your team can be stressful and upsetting it is important that the emphasis is not placed on blame but rather on using the complaint as a learning process to improve services and ensure that similar errors are not repeated. Patient liaison personnel within your Trust may be able to provide advice on how to deal with a complaint.
Information on complaints handling and clinical negligence can be found on the DH website.
The NHS Centre for Innovation and Improvement run training courses on "Managing Complaints for Service Improvement" to assist with handling complaints and achieving local resolution.
You must ensure that you have appropriate indemnity arrangements in place if you are working for the NHS, you will be covered by their scheme. For other work, you will need personal cover. The GMC can offer guidance on this and on the requirement to join a medical defence union.