Revised guidelines for GPs have been published which give tailored advice aimed at reflecting recent changes in general practice, such as out-of-hours arrangements and communication by web or email.
The Good Medical Practice for General Practitioners, issued by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the BMA's General Practitioners Committee (GPC), will be the central document underpinning revalidation for GPs.
The two bodies say key changes in the 2008 version include modifications to reflect the changes in general practice, as well as a new section on appraisals.
It outlines the differences between "exemplary" GPs and "unacceptable" ones, and offers advice on how to achieve exemplary status, such as having a "clear and accurate" practice website and seeking patients' consent before sharing sensitive information with other healthcare professionals.
Dr Richard Vautrey, a GPC negotiator, said that while many GPs would fall between an exemplary and an unacceptable GP, many were already providing information to their patients via practice websites.
"Those who haven't got a website can use the opportunity to set up a site on NHS Choices and provide information to their patients and I would hope that they are doing that," he added.