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Providing references about colleagues: the role of the regulator

10 Feb 2009 | Professional Standards Authority
  • Policy Advice

February 2009 advice to the Secretary of State

Health professionals may be asked to provide references for their colleagues when they move between jobs. In one high profile case, problems had been identified with the references provided and the needs of patients were not considered as highly as they should have been. This report considers whether specific guidelines should be written by the regulatory bodies to help in this situation. Specific guidance on writing references is available from the GMC, and other organisations also provide support, for example, NHS organisations, professional groups and other bodies such as the Information Commissioner. The regulators stress the importance of being honest and acting in patients’ interests throughout their codes and standards. We could not find further evidence that dedicated guidance on writing references was necessary at this stage.

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