Intended for healthcare professionals


NHS managers should be regulated by a professional body, says BMA

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 11 March 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1374
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. 1BMJ Careers
  1. arimmer{at}

NHS managers should be regulated by a professional body in the same way that doctors are regulated by the General Medical Council, the BMA has said.

Delegates at the BMA’s annual conference for UK consultants in London on Wednesday 4 March voted in favour of a motion proposed by Maharukh Daruwalla, a consultant plastic surgeon. The motion said that any professional body for NHS managers should be statutory and should have the power to “censure, suspend, and withdraw the ability of managers to work in health or social care organisations.”

Daruwalla said that a regulatory body would ensure that managers and clinicians had the same priorities. “Managers usually tend to focus on cost cutting targets while doctors tend to focus on delivering safe, good quality care which is clinically prioritised. As a result there is often conflict within the team which may result in poor patient care,” she said. “Aligning the managers’ priorities with clinical priorities will help avoid these negative team dynamics. One way to ensure this is by having NHS managers regulated by a professional body in the same way that we doctors are regulated by the GMC.”

Peter Ramsay-Baggs, a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon, spoke against the motion. He raised concerns that medical managers who were also doctors, and therefore regulated by the GMC, would face “double jeopardy” situations. “Being a maxillofacial surgeon I am regulated by the General Dental Council [as well as the GMC]. One of my colleagues was recently reported to the GMC who invested the concerns and found there was no case to answer. His employers then decided to refer him to the General Dental Council where he underwent three years of investigation and was eventually removed from practice,” Ramsay-Baggs said.

Despite this concern Paul Flynn, chair of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, supported the motion. He said, “I think that while the concept of double jeopardy is something to think about, the basic premise—that the standards should not be any less [for managers than for doctors]—has been evidenced this week in the Kirkup report where, while there were failings by clinicians, there were many opportunities to prevent the harms that were missed by people in management positions.”1