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GMC launches research guidance for GPs

The General Medical Council has published guidance setting out the good practice principles doctors involved in research are expected to follow

The General Medical Council (GMC) has published two-part guidance, Good practice in research and Consent to research, which sets out the good practice principles doctors involved in research are expected to both understand and follow.

The documents provide a framework to aid decision making through all stages of a research project from design, recruiting participants, seeking consent and final publication.

The guidance stresses that the safety, dignity and well-being of participants take precedence over the development of treatments and the furthering of knowledge. It also recognises the complexities involved in research as well as the importance it plays in improving patient care.

Ros Levenson, chair of the GMC's Standards and Ethics Reference Group said: "Research is a vital area but it is often difficult to navigate. We know that researchers work in a complex regulatory environment and face challenging ethical issues every day.

"The guidance takes account of recent changes to legislation and in society as well as views expressed during consultation. The contribution of the research community to the development of this guidance has been particularly helpful."

The guidance, which can be found on the GMC website, includes:

  • Advice about avoiding conflicts of interest, reminding doctors not to let their judgement be affected by financial, personal, political or other external interests
  • Consideration of children and young people's role in research
  • Doctors' duty to share information with patients about what is involved in research, including risks and benefits, in a way they can understand, to inform their decision about whether to take part
  • Doctors' responsibilities to ensure that research is free from discrimination and open to all
  • Advice about specific issues in research involving patients who lack capacity
  • Advice about vulnerable adults with capacity, such as those with learning difficulties or mental illness, and a reminder that they might be more susceptible to pressure to take part in research.
  • 14th April 2010

    From: Healthcare

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