In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the need to reform the legislation that governs the UK’s health and care professional regulators. These regulators are responsible for overseeing the conduct and competence of healthcare professionals, ensuring that they meet the required standards of practice and ethics. However, the existing legislation is outdated and in need of reform to ensure that it is fit for purpose in the 21st century.
The government’s announcement of a significant step forward in this area is therefore welcome news. The proposed reforms will focus on the legislative framework that underpins the professional bodies that regulate healthcare professionals, with the aim of creating a more streamlined and effective system that better serves the needs of patients and healthcare professionals alike.
One of the key issues that the reform will address is the current fragmentation of the regulatory system. There are currently nine professional bodies that are responsible for regulating healthcare professionals in the UK, each with its own set of standards, codes of conduct, and disciplinary procedures. This can lead to confusion and inconsistency for both patients and healthcare professionals, and can make it difficult for regulators to work together effectively.
According to NHS Employers "The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published a response to the 2021 consultation Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public, in which it has outlined an approach to updating the legislative framework for each of the nine health and care professional regulators."
Under the proposed reforms, there will be greater collaboration and coordination between the different regulatory bodies, with a focus on sharing best practice and working together to ensure that standards are consistent across the board. This will help to create a more unified and effective regulatory system, which is better able to respond to the changing needs of patients and healthcare professionals.
Another key focus of the reforms will be to ensure that the regulatory system is more transparent and accountable. There will be a greater emphasis on openness and transparency in the way that regulators operate, with a requirement for them to publish more information about their activities and decisions. This will help to build trust and confidence in the regulatory system, and ensure that patients and healthcare professionals are able to hold regulators to account when necessary.
The Government have also opened a consultation for Regulating anaesthesia associates and physician associates, they add that "This consultation seeks views on the anaesthesia associates and physician associates order (the draft order) that will give the General Medical Council (GMC) the necessary powers and duties to regulate AAs and PAs in the UK."
"As well as bringing AAs and PAs into regulation, this consultation also paves the way for full scale reform of the regulatory frameworks of all the healthcare professional regulators. This is a rare and significant opportunity to deliver a large-scale programme of reform that will implement improvements to the system of professional regulation, to the health and care workforce and, most importantly, to patient and public safety." They continued.
Overall, the proposed reforms represent a significant step forward in the regulation of healthcare professionals in the UK. By creating a more streamlined and effective regulatory system, the government aims to ensure that patients receive the highest possible standards of care, and that healthcare professionals are able to work in an environment that supports their professional development and protects the public. While there is still much work to be done to implement these reforms, they represent an important and positive step towards a better regulated and more effective healthcare system in the UK.
Read More and Respond to the Consultation Here