New Guidelines for Professional Conduct of Doctors in India

  • 16 Aug 2023

In a recent development, the National Medical Commission (NMC), the apex regulator, has issued comprehensive guidelines for the professional conduct of registered doctors in modern medicine. These guidelines encompass various aspects of medical practice, from treatment to online presence.

Key Points:

  • Social Media Etiquette for Doctors: For the first time, the guidelines provide an 11-point framework for doctors using social media.
  • Sharing of Information: It emphasizes that while doctors can share information online, it should be accurate and not misleading.
  • Privacy Issues: They are cautioned against revealing patient details or discussing treatment specifics on social media platforms to ensure patient privacy.
  • Prescriptions and Generic Medicines: The guidelines mandate doctors to write legible prescriptions in capital letters and prescribe generic medicines, except for cases with narrow therapeutic index.
  • This measure aims to promote affordable healthcare while ensuring the patient's well-being. The guidelines also encourage the use of approved, rational combinations of drugs.
  • Right to Refuse Treatment and Patient Conduct: Doctors are granted the right to refuse treatment to abusive, unruly, or violent patients or their relatives.
  • In such cases, they are advised to document and report the behaviour, and the patient should be referred elsewhere.
  • No Discrimination: The guidelines prohibit doctors from refusing treatment based on religious beliefs and stress the importance of providing treatment information and estimated costs to patients.
  • Continuous Professional Development (CPD): The guidelines make CPD mandatory, requiring doctors to continue learning throughout their active years.
  • Doctors must accumulate 30 credit points in their relevant fields every five years.
  • This ongoing learning ensures doctors stay updated with evolving medical practices and technologies.
  • Conferences and Industry Sponsorship: While CPD is encouraged, the guidelines restrict sponsorship of educational activities or conferences by the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Maintaining Integrity: Doctors are discouraged from accepting gifts, hospitality, or monetary incentives from pharmaceutical or medical device companies. This move aims to prevent any undue influence on medical decisions and maintain the integrity of medical practice.