What do people think of the White Paper?

Professor Sir Graeme Catto, GMC president
‘We agree with the government and the CMO that the White Paper provides the basis for a lasting settlement in relation to professional regulation. Our priority is to end the uncertainty for patients and doctors. We believe we can do that.’

Roger Goss, co-director of Patient Concern
‘This is a first for consultations on the NHS. The government has accepted what patient advocates said, overlooking the profession’s predictable protests. Thank goodness for an end to the GMC’s role as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury for serious patient complaints. This will enhance public confidence in getting a fair hearing. Of course, the million-pound question is how will the government prevent the medical establishment filibustering revalidation plans for another seven years?’

James Johnson, chairman of the BMA
‘The BMA supports measures that promote excellence and help reduce instances of poor standards, or negligence. Doctors need to have confidence that the regulatory system will lead to support and retraining if necessary and not be merely punitive.’

Dr Hugh Stewart, MDU medico-legal adviser
‘We are disappointed at the government’s intention to change the current criminal standard of proof to a “flexibly applied civil standard” for fitness-to-practise procedures. We are sceptical about the suggestion in the White Paper that in some cases, the “sliding civil standard” is indistinguishable from the criminal standard.  When a doctor’s whole career is at stake, the allegations should be tested against the highest standard of proof. If doctors are under threat of being erased or suspended from the Register, the allegations against them should be proved beyond all reasonable doubt.’

Andrew Lansley, Conservative party shadow health secretary
The government is fixed on trying to deal with the one-in-a-million incompetent doctor, but this just undermines the confidence that the public has in all other doctors. The best protection for patients is professional self-regulation.’

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