Restoring the profession's self esteem

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 25 January 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:183

The president of the General Medical Council, Graeme Catto, is charged with introducing revalidation by 2005. Geoff Watts asks him how plans are progressing

It's almost exactly 12 months since Professor Graeme Catto, dean of medicine at Guy's, King's, and St Thomas's Hospitals Schools of Medicine and Dentistry in London, took on the presidency of the General Medical Council. He enters his second year at a time when the regulation of doctors in the UK is set to experience one of the biggest changes in well over a century: the introduction of revalidation.

To say that the advent of a renewable licence to practise has been greeted with dancing in the corridors of medicine would be inaccurate—unless such movements were of the kind prompted by reluctant treading on hot coals. It is 15 years since I last tried to report on “recertification,” as it was then known. The attempt came to nothing. Everyone was so apprehensive that no one wanted to comment on what was at that time merely an aspiration—or a threat.

Now, of course, the decision has been made and comment flows more freely—not least from the man who has to implement it. Predictably, and reasonably, Catto denies that recent events such as the inquiry into paediatric cardiac deaths in Bristol and the conviction of GP Harold Shipman for murdering patients have been the stimulus for reform. He does concede …

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