last updated:29/11/2017 @ 10:16 am

Good Occupational Medical Practice 2017

To emphasise that occupational physicians share many obligations in common with other doctors, the original words and passages of Good Medical Practice (displayed in black), and selected abstracts from supplementary guidelines of the GMC (displayed in red), are retained and presented. Where appropriate, extra commentary, written specifically by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, then follows in a distinguishing (blue) typeface.
ForewordIntroductionDomain 1: Knowledge, skills and performanceDomain 2: Safety and qualityDomain 3: Communication, partnership and teamworkDomain 4: Maintaining trustAfterword

Respond to risks to safety

Respond to risks to safety

  1. You must promote and encourage a culture that allows all staff to raise concerns openly and safely.1., 11.
  2. You must take prompt action if you think that patient safety, dignity or comfort is or may be seriously compromised.
  1. If a patient is not receiving basic care to meet their needs, you must immediately tell someone who is in a position to act straight away.
  2. If patients are at risk because of inadequate premises, equipment or other resources, policies or systems, you should put the matter right if that is possible. You must raise your concern in line with GMC guidance11. and your workplace policy. You should also make a record of the steps you have taken.
  3. If you have concerns that a colleague may not be fit to practise and may be putting patients at risk, you must ask for advice from a colleague, your defence body or the GMC. If you are still concerned you must report this, in line with GMC guidance and your workplace policy, and make a record of the steps you have taken.11., 12.

If you feel that the actions of an employer to whom you contract services may cause harm, and these concerns cannot be addressed through consultation and discussion, you should similarly take responsible and professional action to protect safety and health. If the employer does not take adequate action, you should take independent advice on how to take the matter further.

  1. You must offer help if emergencies arise in clinical settings or in the community, taking account of your own safety, your competence and the availability of other options for care.

If you have overall responsibility for an occupational health service, you should advise employers on the requirements for first aid at work, including specific needs arising from special hazards of the work.  Although the duty of provision lies with the employer, you should seek to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made and monitored.

  1. Whether or not you have vulnerable* adults or children and young people as patients, you should consider their needs and welfare and offer them help if you think their rights have been abused or denied.13., 14.

* Some patients are likely to be more vulnerable than others because of their illness, disability or frailty or because of their current circumstances, such as bereavement or redundancy. You should treat children and young people under 18 years as vulnerable. Vulnerability can be temporary or permanent.

Occupational physicians do not normally care for under 16 year-olds. However, during their clinical contacts with workers they may discover matters of concern related to the safety of minors, be these related to a worker’s professional contacts with children (e.g. as a carer, teacher, social worker, etc.) or in their personal lives and social history.  They then have a duty to follow the GMC’s guidelines in relation to vulnerable groups.

Vulnerable workers whose occupational health needs may require special consideration include those with physical or learning disabilities.