Located within a debate about changing organizational forms and new workforce roles this article provides an analysis of policy attempts to modernize the healthcare workforce. Theoretically, the article draws upon sociology of professions literature to focus upon competition within and between professions that impacts upon new roles in the NHS for doctors, designed to combine specialist and generalist knowledge and cross organizational and professional boundaries. The article highlights that attempts by policy-makers to reconfigure the clinical workforce may be constrained due to attempts at occupational closure by more powerful professional groups and by associated concerns about professional identities. © 2009 BSA Publications Ltd®.
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