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Published 11 July 2019
What does the future hold for the regulation of healthcare professionals?
The government’s recent response to the consultation it ran on reforming the regulation of healthcare professionals - ‘Promoting Professionalism, Reforming Regulation’ - marks a further step towards changes which are designed to make fitness to practise processes more flexible and efficient, including bringing the powers of the existing statutory regulators into closer alignment and giving them more freedom to decide for themselves how they operate.
Some of the more seismic proposals of reducing the number of regulators - or even having one overarching ‘super regulator’ - have been put on the back-burner for now. Nevertheless, some notable reforms will be carried forward.
We look at what’s now being proposed and what we can expect next.
With the current model of professional regulation often seen as overly bureaucratic and adversarial, the government has set out its latest plans for addressing this.
The changes the government plans to press ahead with initially include:
As well as committing to bringing forward legislative changes addressing the above areas, the consultation response identifies a number of proposals which will be subject to more consideration/consultation and which we may therefore see re-emerging further down the line.
The next step will be for the government to produce draft legislation designed to bring about the changes it has committed to so far. That draft legislation will then be published for further consultation.
The government’s consultation response is, however, noticeably silent on any specific timescale for this. Based on the pace of change up to now, we may be waiting a while longer before we see the proposed changes become a reality.
Meanwhile, other ideas such as potentially reducing the number of healthcare regulators, are currently on the back-burner. It is likely that these will be given more detailed consideration before being subject to a further round of consultation in future.
Our team of experienced professional regulatory lawyers have a thorough understanding of how the wide range of professional regulators in the health and social care sector operate and we use this knowledge to provide sensible, pragmatic advice to obtain the best outcome in fitness to practise cases, including:
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