Analysis And Comment

Success relies on winning hearts and minds

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39010.463044.68 (Published 02 November 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:965
  1. Donald Irvine, chairman of trustees, Picker Institute Europe (Donald@donaldirvine.demon.co.uk)1
  1. 1 Fairmoor, Morpeth NE61 3JL

    Professor Sir Liam Donaldson's report1 offers a realistic possibility that, for the first time, every patient in the United Kingdom will have the guarantee of a good doctor.2 This is not only achievable and the right thing to do, but overdue. Its proper implementation would be a huge step forward for the public and the medical profession.

    To achieve this objective there are two main priorities. The first is to secure doctors' wholehearted commitment to a standards based, patient centred culture of medical professionalism and medical regulation.3 This will need a General Medical Council that is vigorously proactive and that thinks and acts very differently from how it does at present. It must have new terms of reference through which it can be held to account by parliament. These must spell out the GMC's overarching responsibility for making sure that every doctor with an unrestricted licence to practise is a good doctor. This implies a different kind of council with serious expertise in, for example, the best ways of internalising professional standards across the profession, communicating its message, medical ethical issues, assessing patients' experience of their doctor's practice, the generic data requirements and assessment methods needed for revalidation, and the epidemiology of dysfunctional …

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