Medical Council News


First Female Commander of a Space Shuttle Headlines Medical Council Patient Safety Conference

Professor Freddie Wood Says Doctors Need to Demonstrate Leadership in Sporting Scenarios too

The Medical Council is today (27th October, 2016) holding a Patient Safety & Leadership Conference, ‘Enhancing the Culture of Patient Safety’ at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane.

Astronaut Colonel Eileen Collins who was the first female to pilot and command an American space shuttle is a keynote speaker at the event and will be speaking on the principles of teamwork, including the key factors for successful leadership along with columnist and author of two acclaimed books on the science of high performance, Matthew Syed.

 Opening the conference President of the Medical Council Professor Freddie Wood said: “Leadership is an absolutely fundamental facet of good patient care and if there is an issue in the health system, it is the role of doctors, and indeed all others working within to speak out and advocate on behalf of the patients they treat.”

Professor Wood went on to praise doctors for advocating on behalf of their patients however he said sometimes doctors can feel conflicted in certain sporting scenarios saying: “It is understandably very difficult for doctors to be dispassionate if they are the medical advisor for a team or club. Most of us are familiar with the ongoing debate around the dangers of concussion in sport and in this situation I strongly believe doctors have a professional and moral duty to put their patient first; no matter what their employer, club, school or county must come second, as the welfare of sportspeople must be a far higher priority than whether or not a team wins or loses.”

Other speakers at the conference include Director of the Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit at the Royal College of Physicians of London, Dr Kevin Stewart and Council member and external lead advisor for the World Health Organisation’s Patients for Patient Safety Programme, Ms Margaret Murphy.

The Medical Council developed a patient booklet following the launch of  the 8th Edition  of the Medical Council’s  Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners (8th Edition) earlier this year which sets out the standards of practice doctors are expected to follow The online booklet for patients and members of the public is entitled Working with Your Doctor: Useful Information for Patients .

Speaking at the conference, Ms Margaret Murphy, who is also a member of the Medical Council’s Ethics and Professionalism Committee, spoke about the patient booklet saying: “ This online booklet which was recently launched is extremely useful as it informs members of the public on aspects of care which they may not otherwise consider, for example what they can expect from their doctor, what their doctors needs to know and what to do if something goes wrong. If a patient goes into their doctor feeling more knowledgeable and informed, the experience is likely to be better and most importantly adverse events are less likely to occur.”   

The Patient Safety & Leadership Conference, ‘Enhancing the Culture of Patient Safety’ can be streamed live on the Medical Council’s website here: