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Change in GTCS to be announced in autumn

The General Medical Council should not be used as a role model for teaching's regulatory body when it acquires independent status, the Government has been warned.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland has acknowledged that the GMC and "other regulatory bodies" could influence the Government's views on the future shape of the GTCS when it loses its quango status later this year.

However, it would be "inappropriate", according to chief executive Tony Finn, to confuse the function of the GMC with that of the GTCS. "We will be keen to learn what independence means for the Government and how far the GTCS will be trusted to take responsibility for its own direction and planning of its future structure," he said.

The GMC has 24 members drawn equally from the medical profession and the public; the GTCS has 50 on its council, the majority registered teachers.

Too severe a reduction in membership would have implications for GTCS practices reducing, for instance, the number of people available to sit on its various committees, it argues.

The council is also resistant to the idea of diluting the number of teacher members. "It has to be a teacher body which can bring knowledge and understanding of the sector," said a spokesman.

Mr Finn warned that the GTCS would also have to come to a conclusion about its future. A working group consisting of four council members has been established to "ensure effective member involvement" and "take forward key issues".

The Government is expected to produce a consultation paper on the future of the GTCS at the beginning of next month. The consultation should then be completed by summer, with plans for change announced in the autumn.

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