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Key points

  • You must communicate effectively with colleagues and work with them in ways that best serve your patients’ interests.
  • You must act quickly to protect patients from risks posed by colleagues.
  • You must treat colleagues fairly.
  • If you are the practice owner or manager, you should make it clear to patients that offensive behaviour will not be tolerated, and they will not be seen for a consultation if they exhibit such behaviour.
  • You should only delegate patient care to appropriately skilled and experienced practitioners.
  • You should keep the patient informed when you delegate aspects of their care to a colleague.
  • You should write clear referral letters that contain relevant information about the condition, reason for referral and level of urgency.
  • You should give patients written information, or a copy of the referral letter and tell them what to expect.
  • Use your professional judgement about the urgency of a referral, taking into account College guidance or local protocols.
  • If you delegate patient care, or supervise others, you are still responsible for the patient and the clinical findings.
  • The protected functions of sight testing or contact lens fitting can only be undertaken by someone who is registered to perform those functions.
  • For good continuity of care, you must keep good records and provide necessary patient information to practitioners to whom you refer, delegate or are supervising.
This Guidance does not change what you must do under the law.