Managing conflicts of interest for general practitioners
Managing actual or potential conflicts of interest is essential for every professional. General practitioners (GPs) are in no different position to lawyers, accountants or many other professionals who ply their professional trade for the benefit of clients but, to a greater or lesser extent, are not paid by clients but by a third party (and often the government).
No professional can avoid conflicts of interest — every professional must be acutely aware of them, understand how differing interests are seen by others and act in a professional manner to manage these interests properly. This is far from easy for all professionals but the present NHS structures have created particularly difficult issues around conflict of interests for GPs.
NHS England has published guidance concerning the management of conflicts of interest. It explains its understanding of a conflict of interest as follows…
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