Rapid responses are electronic letters to the editor. They enable our users to debate issues raised in articles published on thebmj.com. Although a selection of rapid responses will be included online and in print as readers' letters, their first appearance online means that they are published articles. If you need the url (web address) of an individual response, perhaps for citation purposes, simply click on the response headline and copy the url from the browser window. Letters are indexed in PubMed.
Since reading "In Search of Justice" (BMJ 2009;339:b4162, which
announces the setting up of the new Office for the Health Professions
Adjudicator, I have talked with other doctors in active hospital and
general practice. Each one confirmed that they had no idea that this body
is now fait accompli. Doubtless it will have been lost amongst the masses
of paper produced by the Department of Health, but in practice has been a
well kept secret.
The first chairman, Walter Merricks, fresh from his variegated
experiences in law, policing, social welfare and head-hunting, not to
mention lunching in the Athanaeum, gives passing referance to the
possibility that some doctors might expect a profession to be self-
regulating, but brushes this aside as an irrelevance. Merricks has had
"nothing but cooperation" from the GMC. He then contradicts himself by
adding "I think there are probably many in the GMC who did not want this
When all this is coupled with the adoption of a civil standard of
proof, implemented by men of Merrick's predeliction, it is clear that the
profession is sleep-walking to its demise as far as its regulation is
Yet again, the question is "What is the GMC for?"- or indeed the BMA!