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Mr Nice Guy

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 06 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1070
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. London

    What does running a police force have in common with enhancing standards in the medical profession? Plenty, says Sandy Forrest, first head of the Council for the Regulation of Healthcare Professionals

    Although doctors do not see the General Medical Council as a body that is “on their side,” outsiders have complained for years that it smacks of an “old boys' club” that fails to put patients first.

    Such was the thinking behind the Kennedy report into heart surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary, which recommended the establishment of an overarching body to regulate all the health professions (BMJ 2001 ;323: 181). The new council would send a message to doctors that if they wanted to retain self regulation, the GMC would have to become part of a larger organisation, which could keep an eye on it.

    Now the new body–the Council for the Regulation of Healthcare Professionals–is in place and its director is due to take up his post in two weeks' time. Appropriately, many would say, the director turns out to be a serving police officer.

    Until he takes over full time in mid-November, Sandy Forrest, aged 50, is Her Majesty's assistant inspector of constabulary for Scotland. Appointing someone with this background to oversee the regulation of the health professions could be seen …

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