Asses the likely impact of the recent Bristol inquiry on the future of health politics in the United Kingdom.
Reforms within the NHS structure are nothing new to the modern day social scientist; however the events that surround the inquiry at Bristol Royal Infirmary have sent shockwaves through the medical profession and its relationship with the state, which in turn have opened up much debate surrounding the way in which the NHS monitored its senior staff. The basis of the inquiry was to examine the high rates of death in children at the cardiac unit of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) during the period of 1984 and 1995. The inquiry began in October of 1997 and was finally published in August 2001 and during which time surgeons James Wisheart and Janardan Dhasmana and the chief executive of the United Bristol Healthcare NHS trust, John Roylance, face a General Medical Council (GMC) disciplinary tribunal charged with serious professional misconduct. It was to investigate 53 BRI operations in which 29 patients died and four were left brain injured (Guardian.co.uk, 2002).
Doctors being held to account for the work they do is the remit of the state and the medical profession itself. In 1858, the GMC, through an act of parliament was granted the rights to self regulate and is made up mainly from appointed or elected medical members, Moran (1999) states that this is a form of ‘private interest’ government.
Doctors are registered via the GMC as having the relevant qualifications to allow them to practice, the GMC also instil a code of practice and ensure that their standards are met, when these rules are broken the GMC has the power to find a doctor guilty of professional misconduct and can remove a doctor for its register, through these action the GMC is seen to the public as a self regulatory body. This according to Allsop (2006), was endorsed by the government as recently as 1975, when the argument of the Merrison Committee, that the GMC was the best...