CHAMBERLAIN, J.M., 2014. Reforming medical regulation in the United Kingdom: from restratification to governmentality and beyond. Medical Sociology online, 8 (1), pp. 32 - 43.
This paper is concerned with contemporary reforms to the institutional body responsible for
overseeing the regulation of the medical profession in the United Kingdom: the General
Medical Council (GMC). Recently the state has introduced legislation which has changed the
organisation of the GMC and how it ensures medical practitioners are fit to practice. It is
argued that these changes provide supportive evidence for the restratification thesis. This
holds that rank and file practitioners are becoming subject to greater peer appraisal and
review as a result of external pressure to reform medical governance and increase
professional accountability mechanisms. But it is also noted that reforms in medical
regulation are bound up with a broader shift in how good governance is conceptualised and
operationalized under neo-liberal mentalities of rule as the state seeks to promote at a
distance a certain type of citizen-subject congruent with the enterprise form within the risk
saturated conditions associated with high modernity. The paper concludes that it is important
to investigate contemporary reforms in the regulation of doctors while also bearing in mind
the broader socio-political context so social scientists can better contribute to current debate
concerning how best to regulate professional forms of expertise.