Doctors must embrace regulation changes

Editorial: Regulation and revalidation of doctors BMJ Volume 333, pp161-62

Doctors should accept the main proposals to change regulation of the medical profession as the best way of restoring public confidence, according to an editorial in this week's BMJ by a leading member of the GMC.

Professor Mike Pringle, a GMC member and professor of general practice, writes about his strong belief that the recommendations of the Department of Health to update medical regulation are taking the right approach.

The chief medical officer's review of medical regulation published last week proposed that doctors face MoT style revalidation checks every five years and that the GMC should no longer have the role of judging whether a doctor is fit to practise in cases of serious complaints a role that will be passed to an independent tribunal panel.

Professor Pringle agrees, writing: 'A profound loss of public, and to a lesser extent professional, confidence has cast a dark shadow over medical regulation and the GMC for the past few years."

The separation of the GMC's responsibility to adjudicate in serious cases is overdue and will reassure the public, he adds, as it moves towards a system of "partnership regulation" rather than professionally-led regulation.

"It would be a political disaster if the medical profession were to reject the main thrust of these recommendations which offer a coherent way forward for public confidence in medical regulation and the GMC," writes Professor Pringle.

"Public and patients' confidence in the system should be greatly enhanced, and doctors will need to accept the rebalancing of interests that this entails."

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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