Primary care has entered an era of unprecedented regulation. Paraphrasing Juvenal, ‘Quis custodiet ipsos\ud custodes?’ will we know if regulation will be the guardian of quality and whether it leads to improvement rather than stagnation or even deterioration in healthcare? The regulation of the medical profession has accelerated following the Bristol and the Shipman enquiries amongst others. Recent high profile reports have set the tone for development of regulatory systems over the next century involving medical and other healthcare professions. As changes in structure and function of professional bodies and new systems for revalidation, recertification and relicensure are being developed it is timely that this themed issue focuses on professional regulation in primary care
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