Analysis And Comment

Many questions remain unanswered

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 02 November 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:967
  1. Michael Buckley, lay member of GMC1 (
  1. 1 Bearsted, Kent ME14 4BZ

    Professor Liam Donaldson's report contains much that will be widely welcomed—it emphasises the need to safeguard and enhance patient safety.1 But several of its recommendations raise questions of principle and others raise important questions of detail.

    Shifting responsibilities

    The way in which the General Medical Committee has discharged its responsibilities for education and setting professional standards has received little criticism and quite a bit of praise. Criticism has overwhelmingly been directed against the way the GMC investigates and prosecutes fitness to practise cases. Yet the report recommends that the GMC should lose the first set of responsibilities and retain the second.

    Donaldson recommends transfer of responsibility for setting the medical undergraduate curriculum, approving medical schools, and for the Professional Linguistics Assessment Board to the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board. This would mean all the GMC's present responsibilities for controlling entry to the medical register would pass to the training board. Other recommendations in the report go in the same direction. Medical royal colleges would recertify specialists and local committees would make recommendations for relicensing.

    The report recommends …

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