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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Time to think again about the GMC

The GMC has lost its way.

While the profession has been locked in trade-union-style bartering with the Government, responsibility to patients has been forgotten.

The GMC ought to have spoken out to remind the profession of its prime duty - to make sure patients have ready access to medical care at all times.

Instead, the GMC has spawned a multitude of committees and swollen grotesquely (like so many quangos), making work for itself by trying to micromanage healthcare delivery by independent, fully trained, professional men and women.

There is a growing tendency to treat doctors as robots who have to carry out their duties according to centrally dictated protocols, drawn up by political appointees.

The GMC's goals are dubious and its advice is often given in an intimidating manner.

Recently, newspapers reported a story about a retired doctor who lost it a bit on a train and was given a police caution for throwing a plate, which struck an attendant on the heel. He was hauled up in front of the GMC and given a formal warning - his action had been 'a gross breach of trust'.

I expect those competent, even brilliant, irascible surgeons (I've known a few) who fling forceps around in theatre in exasperation will have to watch their Ps and Qs.

It is time that the present regulatory system was rebalanced.

Dr J Findlater, Silverdale, Lancashire

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