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At the heart of general practice since 1960

It shouldn't cosy up to Government

Poor old GMC – lie down with dogs and you rise with fleas.

Poor old Sir Donald Irvine. Remember him? Inventor of revalidation and related purulent concepts, steamroller of change, protector of self-regulation and all that jazz. Remember him now?

In retrospect Sir Donald's plans to save self-regulation are very clear. Bore your enemy to death. Start on a process so mind-numbingly slow that it way exceeds the attention span of the average government. Simmer for about five years then present to the latest incumbent at the Department of Health for signature. Sorted!

Except....he didn't reckon with the Shipman Inquiry which has rather suddenly thrust the GMC into the public eye once again. And he didn't know it was unwise to get too close to the Government. Now the poor old GMC is paying the price of getting too close for comfort, like the moth that flutters around the lighted candle and has a simply wonderful time for a while until it wanders just a little too close and, whumpf!, fried moth!

The GMC tried a bit too hard to comply and do 'the right thing'. Keeping a prickly distance would have been better because ultimately, as one of the GMC maverick element put it, the sort of self-regulation Sir Donald wanted is probably not worth having.

And now we have the prospect of routine overruling of GMC decisions with double jeopardy for doctors. Was it worth it, Sir Donald? I don't think so.

Dr Declan Fox

Newtownstewart

Co. Tyrone

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