In Regulation rethought the Authority sets out its proposals for a transformation of the regulation of health and care professionals, suggesting how the ideas in its earlier paper Rethinking regulation could put into practice. The proposals are primarily focused on public protection and professional responsibility. They are intended to create clarity for patients, and allow greater flexibility of approach for regulators, employers, policy makers and others shaping the workforce. They include:
- Agreement on a common purpose for all regulators in the sector
- Establishment of a single assurance body holding a shared, public-facing register
- Adoption of a statement of professional practice – a set of common professional standards applying to all
- Establishment of a licensing regime for statutorily registered professions
- Adoption of an inquisatorial approach to fitness to practise, and shared investigation, prosecution and adjudication functions
- Further development of co-operative working, using data and insight to prevent harm
- The introduction of accountability for cost-effective working
- A review of arrangements for quality assurance of undergraduate higher education
- Adoption of the methodology we set out in Right-touch assurance: a methodology for assessing and assuring occupational risk of harm.
The Authority is committed to working with partners and stakeholders to take forward reform in healthcare regulation to make it yet more focused on the interests of the public. Detailed work will be needed to develop plans for implementing these proposals, and to prepare for future opportunities for legislative change. Only with new legislation will it be possible to realise the radical reform proposed in this paper.