Doctors need time to digest the GMC’s more detailed guidance (MDG), says MDU.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has expressed concern that doctors will have insufficient time to read and digest the General Medical Council’s (GMC) more detailed guidance (MDG) which has been published today and comes into effect on January 30th 2024, alongside the updated version of its ethical standards Good Medical Practice.

The MDGs, cover a range of important topics including maintaining personal and professional boundaries, social media, ending a professional relationship with a patient and producing witness statements.

The MDU understands the need for a comprehensive update given the revisions made to Good Medical Practice, but it is still a challenge for doctors to read and absorb the MDGs over the busy winter months on top of their daily duties and responsibilities to patients.

This is supported by research, conducted earlier this year, into the revised Good Medical Practice, in which the MDU found that only half (49%) of respondents were confident that they would have time to fully absorb the new standards before they are implemented.

Indeed, seven in ten (69%) said they would have to read the guidance in their own time outside of work. Unfortunately, this figure is likely to increase due to the introduction of the MDGs.

Dr Udvitha Nandasoma, Head of Advisory Services at the MDU said:

“We are pleased to see that the more detailed guidance related to Good Medical Practice has been published. It is our belief that doctors know how important the guidance is and as such it is concerning that they feel they have insufficient time to absorb this and the new MDGs over the busy winter period.

“At the MDU, we are supporting members as to what the new guidance means for them to provide the best possible care to their patients.”



The MDU is a not-for-profit organisation wholly dedicated to our members’ interests. Our team is led and staffed by doctors with real-life experience of the pressures and challenges faced in practice.

We offer our members expert guidance, personal support and robust defence in addressing medico-legal issues, complaints and claims. Our customised services range from legal assistance to indemnity to appropriate CPD.