Medical regulation: more reforms are needed

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5744 (Published 25 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5744
  1. Kieran Walshe, professor of health policy and management1,
  2. Julian Archer, NIHR career development fellow 2
  1. 1Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education Research and Assessment (CAMERA), Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to: K Walshe kieran.walshe{at}mbs.ac.uk

Doctors should support them, while bringing evidence to bear on their development and implementation

Some doctors in the UK may feel that medical regulation, and the workings of the General Medical Council, have been subject to almost continual reform for over a decade. They may remember the huge public and professional impact of the Bristol inquiry in 2001,1 the work of Donald Irvine and other pioneers at the GMC at the turn of the century,2 and the further painful lessons of the Shipman inquiry in 2004.3 This was followed by legislative reforms to professional regulation in 2008.4 Since then there have been two inquiries led by Robert Francis QC into Mid Staffordshire hospitals5 6 and a host of other inquiries, reports, and investigations into aspects of the medical profession. More immediately, many will be engaged in the GMC’s first cycle of medical revalidation, scheduled to see all doctors’ performance reviewed between 2012 and 2016.7

But yet more changes are under way. In 2011, the Department of Health invited the Law Commission in England (and its equivalents in Scotland and Northern Ireland) to review the complex legislation …

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