General Medical Council

I am pleased to tell you about our new guidance for doctors, Good practice in research and Consent to research.  This replaces the guidance booklet, Research: The role and responsibilities of doctors (2002) and comes into effect on 4 May 2010.

Research is essential to maintaining and improving healthcare but it can be a difficult area for doctors to navigate. The pieces of guidance provide a framework to guide doctors’ decisions throughout all stages of a research project.

They include specific advice on:

  • The law and governance arrangements that apply to research in the UK
  • Good research design and practice, including the importance of promoting equality and preventing discrimination at all stages of research
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest and protecting participants from harm
  • The process of seeking participant consent
  • Involving adults who lack capacity in research
  • The considerations about involving children or young people in research

The process to develop the guidance involved consultation with doctors, patients and the public, and others with an interest in research.

We are very grateful to all who participated in the consultations at various stages throughout the review – your input has helped shape the advice we have published. You can view Good practice in research and Consent to research on the GMC's website

You can also access online the supporting legal annexes and the list of other sources of information and guidance. Information about the development of the guidance is available on the GMC's news and consultation pages 

If you have any questions, please contact Olivia Stapleton or Suzanne Wood on 020 7189 5404.