MDU hopeful new statement on doctors' reflections will help to reassure profession

A joint statement from healthcare regulators including the GMC, on the benefits of being a reflective practitioner, has been welcomed by the Medical Defence Union (MDU).

Responding to the statement, Dr Caroline Fryar, MDU head of advisory services, said:

'We encourage all doctors to take part in reflection, which remains an important part of clinical practice and is also an ethical duty, set out in the GMC's guidance Good medical practice (2013).

'Careful and conscientious reflection on professional practice, particularly if things go wrong, can be helpful both in terms of learning lessons and in demonstrating insight.

'As the new statement points out, reflections should be anonymised and focus on what has been learned, rather than the identifiable details of those involved or the event. We hope the guidance will help reassure doctors and medical students about some of the misconceptions about reflection and the contents of reflective notes.

'For example, the statement explains that the regulators will not ask for personal written reflections in order to investigate a concern against a registrant. However, the MDU's experience shows it can be helpful for doctors to offer evidence of their reflections when responding to a GMC investigation, for example to demonstrate they have learnt from the experience.

'We encourage members who are completing reflective notes after something has gone wrong or those who have received a request to disclose the document to others, to contact us for further advice.'

This guidance was correct at publication 18/06/2019. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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