Editorials

The GMC: where now?

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7246.1356 (Published 20 May 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1356

It must put the public first but listen to doctors and be bold with its reforms

  1. Richard Smith, editor
  1. BMJ

    To work effectively the General Medical Council needs the trust of the public, doctors, and government. At the moment it is trusted by none of them. Staying the same is no longer an option. So should the GMC opt for slow or rapid reform and in which direction? Or should the government appoint a royal commission to consider sweeping away the GMC?

    High profile scandals have shaken public confidence in the regulation of doctors.1 Most important were the deaths of babies undergoing heart surgery in Bristol and the case of Harold Shipman, the general practitioner who was convicted of murdering 15 of his patients but who probably killed many more.2 3 The public has also been much concerned by reports in the media that the council has restored doctors to the medical register whom many people think should have been struck off forever.

    The government has been doubtful about self regulation for a long time. It was some seven years ago that it set up a working party on poorly performing doctors, trespassing on an area that belonged to the GMC.4 Since then …

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