Editorials

Renegotiating medicine's contract with patients

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7145.1622 (Published 30 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1622

The GMC is leading the way

  1. Richard Smith, Editor
  1. BMJ

    The social contract between doctors and the public is being renegotiated. The contract says in essence: “In return for guaranteeing that we will be treated by competent doctors who will respect our dignity and offer us services better than those of the local garage we the public will give you doctors status, above average incomes, and the privilege of regulating yourselves.” The contract is renegotiated not by bald men in suits in back rooms but rather by the public expressing its disquiet in a myriad of forms—align=baseline border=0>through, for example, parliament, the media, and patients' organisations—align=baseline border=0>and by the profession recognising the disquiet and responding. The BMA, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and postgraduate and undergraduate deans last month produced a report on improving self regulation at the local level, 1 2 while the Royal College of Physicians of London has before it a document that calls on it to “put in place urgently evidence that robust mechanisms exist for self regulation of its members and fellows.” 3 But it is the General …

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