CHAMBERLAIN, J.M., 2011. The hearing of fitness to practice cases by the General Medical Council: current trends and future research agendas. Health, Risk and Society, 13 (6), pp.561-575.
Over the last three decades a risk-based model of medical regulation has emerged in the United Kingdom. To promote a risk-averse operational culture of transparency and professional accountability the regulatory state has intervened in medical governance and introduced best-evidenced practice frameworks, audit and performance appraisal, Against this background the paper analyses descriptive statistical data pertaining to the General Medical Council’s management of the process by which fitness to practice complaints against doctors are dealt with from initial receipt through to subsequent investigative and adjudication stages. Statistical trends are outlined regarding complaint data in relation to a doctor’s gender and race and ethnicity. The data shows that there has been an increase in rehabilitative and/or punitive action against doctors. In light of its findings the paper considers what the long-term consequences may be, for both patients and doctors, of the increasing use of risk-averse administrative systems to reform medical regulation and ensure professional accountability.
This article was published in the journal Health, Risk and Society. The definitive version is available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13698575.2011.613984