BMA core ethics guidance

This resource provides core ethics guidance for all doctors and medical students.


Location: UK
Audience: All doctors Medical students
Updated: Thursday 30 May 2024
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Based on the enquiries we receive from BMA members, this resource pulls together our core ethics guidance for doctors and medical students covering:

  • How to approach an ethical question
  • Common ethical dilemmas in the doctor-patient relationship
  • Consent and refusal of treatment
  • Mental capacity – England and Wales; Scotland; and Northern Ireland
  • Children and young people
  • Confidentiality and health records


What you'll get from this resource

  • All our core guidance in a single resource that is fully searchable and easy to navigate, with a simple, easy to remember, URL (
  • An understanding of the key factors to consider when facing common ethical questions
  • Guidance on good practice and ethical standards
  • Legal principles arising from both legislation and court judgments
  • Links to other guidance and resources from the BMA and other bodies including the General Medical Council, health departments and royal colleges.


How to use this resource

The purpose of this resource is not to provide definitive answers for every situation but to identify the key factors that need to be considered when decisions are made; to summarise the relevant legal considerations; and to signpost other key professional guidance. It is not a set of rules or instructions, or a substitute for careful reflection and discussion with colleagues.