Mary Agnew

Mary Agnew, the GMC’s Assistant Director of Standards and Guidance, welcomes new F1 doctors to the medical register and highlights some of the key resources we provide to help you in your career as a doctor.

#Hello my name is

Hello, my name is Mary Agnew and I am Assistant Director of Standards and Guidance at the GMC. On behalf of all my colleagues, I wanted to wish you a warm welcome to the medical register and to your career as doctors, to say thank you, and to wish you well for your first days, weeks and beyond.

I know the three letters ‘GMC’ can sometimes provoke alarm in the hearts of doctors; I wanted to try to dispel some of that and to highlight a few of the ways we seek to help you to become great doctors and to support you through challenging times.

Thank you

Firstly, thank you for the years of hard study you have already committed to becoming a doctor, and for joining the amazing team who work in our health services across the UK. To borrow from a Michael Rosen poem written to celebrate the 60th birthday of the NHS, yours are the hands that touch us first and touch us last. You take on a role phenomenally challenging, yet phenomenally rewarding. You will be there for people at the most extreme, frightening and difficult moments of their lives, as well as some of the most amazing.

Doctors have helped me back to health and quite possibly saved my life twice, once from an obscure and sudden kidney disease in my 20s and from appendicitis more recently. They were part of the team that saw my two children into the world, and they tried their hardest to save my mum from an aggressive brain tumour.

Reading Rachel Clarke’s (aka @doctor_oxford for those of you on Twitter) powerful book, Your Life in My Hands, I was reminded of the demands this makes on you as doctors in training – the challenges, the unpredictability, and the moments of sheer exhilaration and joy. Thank you again for your dedication, your hard work, and for your commitment to care and to learn.

So how can we help?

As well as our core ethical guidance, Good medical practice, we have a range of guidance, tools, and resources to help you during your training, and throughout your career in medicine. Here are just a few:

  • Top tips for F1s – developed in partnership with doctors, providing practical hints and tips to help you through those first few weeks.
  • My GMP app – download our ethical guidance to your smartphone, letting you easily access the advice you need, whenever, and wherever you need it – even if you are offline.
  • Case studies – explore real life scenarios to help you understand and apply our guidance in practice, to complex issues like patient confidentiality and good communication.
  • Advice – take a look at our dedicated website to support you in caring for people with learning disabilities; access our wealth of resources on end of life care; or download our guidance on child protection, the duty of candour and prescribing (to name but a few).
  • Decision making tools – identify what steps you should take when considering issues like capacity and consent; or what to do if you want to raise a concern.
  • Supporting you through training – check our information and guidance for help if you have a health issue or disability that means you need adaptations or extra support as you train as a doctor.

>> Find more tools to support you as a doctor.

Good luck and keep in touch!

These are just a selection of the ways we can support you through your career, and I hope they will help you!

I’m not a doctor, so it’s perhaps presumptuous of me to give advice. But if I did, it would be to walk in your patients’ shoes and see the world from their perspectives, to build strong support networks with your colleagues, and never to be afraid to ask for help and advice.

If you want to share your experiences with us – or have ideas for resources that would help you – we’d love to hear from you. Please do get in touch at