Sir Donald Irvine, President of the GMC, said: "This is a significant initiative by the General Medical Council. For the first time there is now a publication [Duties of a Doctor] that sets out explicitly ... what standards of practice and care patients can expect from their doctors."
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Doctors have been told they must not withhold treatment from patients who smoke or drink excessively. New guidelines issued yesterday by the General Medical Council stress that patients should not be penalised for unhealthy lifestyles.