Every doctor, GP or specialist consultant, should have the best interests of the patient as his or her primary concern at all times, wherever that patient is being treated or cared for.

This is one of the pillars of best practice in medicine but the nature of private healthcare, with treatment which must be paid for promptly and sometimes in advance of treatment, and doctors who also have to be paid, does have the potential to cause ethical difficulties.

All doctors must abide by the General Medical Council guidance contained in the document ‘Good Medical Practice’ and the Royal College of Surgeons document – put together with the agreement of other medical Royal Colleges and called Good Surgical Practice.

In addition to these guidance documents, one of the organisations that supports and represents consultants who have private practices, FIPO – the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations – has drawn up its own ‘Charter for Patients and Doctors’ which can be found on its website.

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