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Reforming Medical Regulation in the United Kingdom: From Restratification to Governmentality and Beyond
Medical Sociology Online, Volume: 8, Issue: 1, Pages: 32 - 44
Swansea University Author: Marty Chamberlain
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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 ho...
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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.
General Medical Council, Governmentality, Medical Profession, Medical Regulation, Restratification
Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law