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In the past two decades, a run of highly publicized medical scandals in the UK have affected the reputation of the medical profession. Beginning with Bristol, it was the cumulative effect of several such scandals. This chapter begins by considering what constitutes professionalism in medicine. It then looks at the recent history of medical professionalism in the UK and concludes that, whilst one have reached a position in which the regulatory framework is modern and potentially robust, there is still much to be done to ensure that professionalism is embedded deep within every doctor, part of their identity. The professionalism advanced by the General Medical Council (GMC) has four main elements: the foundation, the standards themselves; compliance mechanisms mainly through regulation and contracts of service; the responsibility for internalizing the professional standards primarily through medical education; and the moral obligation on professional institutions.
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