Medical dominance in a changing world: the UK case

Allsop, Judith
December 2006
Health Sociology Review;Dec2006, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p444
Academic Journal
This paper examines the governance of the medical profession in the UK. As in many other countries, external and internal pressures have brought a shift in relations between the state and medicine. From a relatively protected position within the British NHS, where clinical autonomy, social status and involvement in a corporatist politics, the context in which doctors practise has undergone radical change. In common with many countries, the UK has turned to competitive markets, and state-sponsored regulatory measures to boost performance. As a consequence, state domination of the health policy agenda has increased replacing a corporatist politics and doctors' individual clinical autonomy has been reduced. Moreover, the existing system of self-governance is in question. It is argued that, nevertheless, there is evidence of different forms of accommodation. The medical profession continues to control a valued knowledge base, retains its social standing and is able to reap economic rewards. A more plural form of medical leadership may emerge better suited to assuring quality in patient care.


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