Personal Views Personal views

A warning to the GMC

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7283.439 (Published 17 February 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:439
  1. Iona Heath, general practitioner
  1. London

    The history of the political subversion of medicine is long, dishonourable, and continuing. It includes the active participation of doctors in the “racial hygiene” policies of Nazi Germany, the involvement of doctors in covering up deaths in custody under apartheid in South Africa, and the current use of doctors to medicalise and thereby sanitise the death penalty in the United States. The extent of the social construction of disease means that medicine will always be political and therefore at risk of political coercion.

    It is not impossible to imagine extremists seeking to marginalise the healthcare needs of minorities or dissidents

    In the United Kingdom, the General Medical Council (GMC) is considering the responses to its recent consultation process on its future constitution. The primary responsibility of the GMC is to regulate doctors and thereby assure the maintenance of professional standards. There is no doubt that lay people have an essential role to play in this process. However, the …

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