If you'd just open the bonnet now, Dr Cameron, and we'll be through with your MoT for another five years. Before you know it, young Dr Finlay will be up for his MoT too.

You get the feeling Dr Cameron would not have been thrilled at the prospect of a five-yearly MoT to ascertain his fitness to practise, as announced by chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson and health minister Andy Burnham in a white paper on medical regulation.

The Sun, however, was all for it. 'Regular MoTs for doctors will benefit patients,' it announced. 'Five-yearly tests have the power to improve their performance by identifying those who make mistakes.' You'd have to be some sort of Harold Shipman wannabe not to welcome the plan, it implied.

The Guardianfocused on doctors losing 'the privilege of self-regulation', outlining the.paper's proposal to slim down the General Medical Council, make it 50:50 doctors-lay people - and hand over disciplinary decisions to an independent tribunal.

The idea was bitterly opposed when mooted last summer, the paper said, but the royal colleges and GMC had since come round. A conciliatory GMC president Professor Sir Graeme Catto popped up on Radio Four's World at One saying he thought it was all a jolly good idea.

Only the BMA and the Medical Defence Union.demurred. The former on just about everything and the latter on plans to lower the standard of proof in misconduct cases from the criminal to the lesser civil level.

The BMA's press release said 'the loss of professionally led medical regulation' could 'muzzle doctors in their role of speaking out for their patients'..

BMA chair James Johnson asked: 'Do patients want their doctor to do what the government tells them to do...or what is best for them?'

Media Watch suspects The Sun's invocation of Shipman may outweigh the BMA's plea for independence.