It is the General Medical Council, as well as the courts, that traditionally oversees the boundaries of medical behaviour. However, the last couple of decades has seen huge change as the GMC has gone from being an organisation run by doctors to one with a more rounded representation and strong voice in the medical community.
The revalidation process means regular checks are carried out by the GMC on doctor’s competence with greater emphasis placed on constant professional development, patient safety and raising standards. This together with recent high-profile court cases have paved the way to data being the determining factor when it comes to doctor competency and standards.
Advocates have offered the theory that greater transparency should result in healthcare professionals striving to match the figures hit by the best in their fields. While this has been shown to be the case for many, there is also a percentage of healthcare professionals who do not appear to be bothered about their own figures and are content with poor outcomes for their patients.
The future could look a lot different with bodies, such as the GMC, placing greater professional expectations upon doctors and other healthcare professionals. Access to the data means that there will be nowhere to hide for doctors content with poor outcomes for their patients.