Letters

General Medical Council Is under threat

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6940.1373d (Published 21 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1373
  1. A C Srivastava

    EDITOR, - The independence of the General Medical Council is under threat from the government.1 The Department of Health has set up several committees to monitor the education and performance of doctors, which were previously - and should be - the sole preserve of the council. Rumours suggest that the government plans to split the council into Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and English divisions and to assume the role of coordinator, which in effect means that it would take full control of the council. Doctors need to protect the council from such measures.

    But the council has become stagnant, and there is widespread discontent over its performance. Radical reforms are needed to make it a strong organisation accountable to the profession and the public. I have two suggestions.

    Firstly, a person should not be allowed to serve as a member for more than two consecutive terms. The royal colleges and universities have persisted in choosing the same people, who are unwilling to see change, as their representatives to the General Medical Council. They need to be replaced by people who could bring about change. Moreover, the president should always be an elected member. The president has never been a woman or a doctor from overseas. This suggests discrimination on grounds of sex and race and needs to be set right.

    Secondly, the council should state clearly that long hours of work are detrimental to the educational needs of junior doctors and to patients' care.

    The General Medical Council is an organisation of doctors for doctors and for which doctors pay. We pay to protect the welfare of the public as well as that of the profession. We should fight to protect it from the government.

    References

    Complaints may reflect racism

    1. A Esmail,
    2. S Everington

      EDITOR, - The …

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