At our conference in March we launched a series of UK-wide events over 2015-2016 to hear directly from frontline clinicians on a number of areas we know to be of concern to doctors and important to the care of their patients. At the end of this programme, we will publish a report reflecting what we have been told about the current state and the future of medical professionalism. Come to one of these events so you can contribute.

Niall Dickson is the GMC’s Chief Executive. He reflects here on why the GMC is delivering these events and what we hope to achieve.

GMC Chief Executive Niall Dickson (centre) chats with guests at the GMC conference 2015
GMC Chief Executive Niall Dickson (centre) chats with guests at the GMC conference 2015

Healthcare, and those who deliver it, have always been under pressure from the day the NHS was founded nearly 70 years ago. Yet the current period, if not unprecedented, certainly feels to many the most challenging of their careers.

That is why I believe the time is right for us to consider both what doctors need to do and what we can do to support them in continuing to meet professional standards.

Values underpinning patient trust

The idea of professionalism can seem quite nebulous and unrelated to frontline care – but whatever you call it, the attitudes, values and behaviours that drive each individual’s practice are hugely important and they are of course highly susceptible to external factors. The key values which underpin medical practice, and upon which the trust of patients is built, in many ways are constant. But the context in which those values are played out continues to change. Not just in terms of the pressures of everyday practice but in a host of other ways from patient expectations, team working and the openness which is now such a part of clinical interactions.

These are obviously not matters for the GMC alone and so we are delivering the events in partnership with a range of key organisations such as the BMA, the Medical Schools Council, NHS Employers and various Royal Colleges (see the full list below).

Starting the discussion

We want these events to provoke a discussion that will help us all to understand how we can help to make sure doctors can maintain and develop their professionalism, skills and behaviours, and feel supported in doing so.

Everyone on the advisory group shares our commitment to this.

You can get a flavour of some of what the events will be tackling by watching this short video from our conference, where we discussed creating a culture of safety, openness and compassion:

We are holding seven events across 2015-2016. At the end of the programme we will publish a report reflecting on what we have heard and considering how we take forward what we have learned.

In 2015, we will be exploring collaboration; resilience; the limits of ethics; and compassion. In 2016, we will be considering research and scholarship; safety and quality improvement and exploring emerging themes for the report.

If you would like to join us, please do book your place or you can take part in the discussions on Twitter using #gooddoctors.

Find out more about the 2015 events, and register your interest in a place, on this website. Information on 2016 events will be published shortly.

This programme has been developed by the GMC in partnership with an advisory group:

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Niall Dickson headshot 1

 Niall Dickson is Chief Executive and Registrar of the GMC