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A cry of pain and anger

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 13 May 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1348
  1. Jeremy Laurance, health editor of the Independent

    It was the Times that broke the story. Under the headline “Struck off doctor elected to GMC” (1 May), it carried the first account of what, by any standards, was a major electoral upset. Just as Tony Blair was about to receive a bloody nose from London voters, and William Hague from those in the Romsey byelection, Britain's doctors were making their opinion felt of efforts by their leaders to reform the General Medical Council.

    At first glance, the result seemed simply perverse. In a byelection for the GMC last month 50 candidates stood for one place on the disciplinary body, whose slogan is “Protecting patients, guiding doctors.” Over 45 000 doctors voted, 23% of the total on the medical register. The result suggested that many who completed their ballot papers would prefer to see the GMC's slogan reversed to read “Protecting doctors, guiding patients.”

    Two of the three doctors who topped the poll had themselves been found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the GMC in the past. Jennifer Colman, who won with 5719 votes, was struck off the medical register in 1987 for neglect of a patient and racial abuse of a colleague. She was restored to …

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