General Medical Council

General Medical Council

The General Medical Council (GMC) is a public body that maintains the official register of medical practitioners within the United Kingdom. Its chief responsibility is to "protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public" by controlling entry to the register, and suspending or removing members when necessary. It also sets the standards for medical schools in the UK. Membership of the register confers substantial privileges under Part VI of the Medical Act 1983. It is a criminal offence to make a false claim of membership. The GMC is supported by fees paid by its members, and it became a registered charity in 2001.
Due to the principle of autonomy and law of consent there is no legislative restriction on who can treat patients or provide medical or health-related services. In other words, it is not a criminal offence to provide what would be considered medical assistance or treatment to another person and not just in an emergency. This is in contrast with the position in respect of animals, where it is a criminal offence under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 for someone who is not a registered veterinary surgeon (or in certain more limited circumstances a registered veterinary nurse) to provide treatment (save in an emergency) to an animal they do not own.
Parliament, since the enactment of the 1858 Act, has conferred on the GMC powers to grant various legal benefits and responsibilities to those medical practitioners who are registered with the GMC - a public body and association, as described, of the Medical Act of 1983, by Mr Justice Burnett in British Medical Association v General Medical Council.

 



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