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

New joint guidance to help doctors and medical students with reflection has been issued today by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans, the General Medical Council and the Medical Schools Council.

Responding to the new guidance, Dr Caroline Fryar, Medical Defence Union (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 guidance points out, a reflective note does not need to capture full details of an experience. It should capture learning outcomes and future plans. We hope the guidance will help reassure doctors and medical students about some of the misconceptions about reflection and the contents of reflective notes, particularly in connection with legal and regulatory proceedings.

“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.”

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