Intended for healthcare professionals


GMC: approaching the abyss

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 30 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1599

Preservation is well worth the effort

  1. Brian Keighley, elected member, Scotland, GMC (,
  2. George Alberti, elected member,
  3. John Chisholm, elected member,
  4. Simon Fradd, elected member,
  5. Barry Jackson, elected member,
  6. Roderick MacSween, appointed medical member,
  7. Hamish Meldrum, general practitioner principal,
  8. David Pickersgill, general practitioner,
  9. Mike Pringle, professor of general practice
  1. Balfron, Stirlingshire G63 0PY
  2. England
  3. England
  4. England
  5. England
  6. General Medical Council, London W1N 6JE
  7. Bridlington YO16 4LZ
  8. North Walsham NR28 0BQ
  9. Department of General Practice, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH
  10. General Medical Council, London W1N 6JE
  11. Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, London W1G 0AE
  12. Manchester M23 1PY
  13. Sydney, Australia

    EDITOR—In his editorial on the General Medical Council, Smith asks a question that is in danger of becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.1 He fairly describes differences of view in the British medical profession about governance and the introduction of revalidation. He then asks whether it is worth expending the effort required to ensure the GMC's survival on the grounds of its being dysfunctional, even suggesting that it might be better to scrap it and start again.

    We write as a disparate group of senior doctors who have been intimately involved in the debate on the future of the GMC. We have held differing views about the solutions that might be offered but are united on the over-riding importance of professionally led regulation in partnership with the public. In this, we concur with Smith that most doctors wish to practise to the highest possible standards and that the model of the intrusive regulatory scrutiny practised by casino operators is totally inappropriate to the medical profession.

    We believe, from very different perspectives, that the GMC should be allowed to develop into a better organisation for doctors and, more importantly, for patients. Smith's implication that we should start looking at fresh alternatives begs the question as to who would be entrusted do this work and whether the result would be any better equipped for the challenges faced by a 21st century regulator in an increasingly complicated society. Any “fresh start” would still have to deal with governance and revalidation, which have been firmly placed on the current agenda by the present …

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