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Regulation changes will be profession's next big battle

Proposed changes to professional regulation will be the BMA's 'next big battle', the conference was warned.

In a heated debate, representatives passed a series of motions opposing the plans outlined in the white paper, including proposals to end the medical majority on the GMC and introduce a sliding scale of proof.

The conference also called for the profession to stop paying for medical regulation if the proposed changes went ahead.

Speaking from the floor Dr Hamish Meldrum, incoming BMA chair, said the motion 'regretting' changes to the GMC did not go far enough. 'I don't regret the proposed changes,' he said. 'I'm horrified, sickened, revolted, horror-struck, aghast. This is going to be our next big battle.'

Dr Laurence Buckman, deputy chair of the GPC, said trying fitness-to-practise cases on the balance of probabilities would lead to 'defensive medicine'. 'Most doctors will practise with an eye to making sure the balance of evidence about what they do falls within the safe zone,' he said. 'You're going to put patients through things in order to protect yourself.'

But some doctors backed the proposed changes, which they said were inevitable. 'There is not one iota of evidence that a medical majority on the GMC brings any benefit,' said Dr Sati Ariyanayagam, a BMA council member. The conference resolved to lobby the Government to ensure proposals for revalidation are centrally resourced and do not lead to the use of examinations in the revalidation process.

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