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International regulation

Meeting of medical (regulatory) minds in Melbourne

MelbourneThe International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) held its annual conference in Australia from 20 to 23 September 2016. Daisy Blench, one of the Authority's policy advisers, attended and reflects on her IAMRA experience.

This September I was fortunate to be able to attend the IAMRA conference in the lovely city of Melbourne to present the research we commissioned exploring the views of the public and professionals on dishonest behaviour by health and care professionals.

The presentation went well and the issue of dishonesty clearly resonated with regulators from other countries some of whom echoed concerns that its significance in fitness to practise cases can be underestimated. It was great to have the chance to talk to regulators from all over the world, and there was a lot of interest in the Authority’s fairly unique role and remit.

It is credit to the variety and quality of all the speakers at the conference as they managed to keep the (in some cases slightly jetlagged!) audience thoroughly absorbed throughout. The conference included attendees from more than 42 different countries and I found it particularly interesting hearing from regulators from some of the developing countries who certainly put the challenges being discussed into perspective.

During a session on ‘What keeps me awake at night’, the Vice-Chair of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council highlighted the challenge of having just 5,000 doctors for 38 million people and issues such as running out of supplies, including surgical gloves.

Though many countries in Africa are at very different stages in developing their health regulatory systems, the Association of Medical Councils of Africa (AMCOA) is leading these developments by ensuring consistency and a focus on public protection. A quote from the conference, taken from a Ghanaian proverb highlights the importance of effective leadership: `A herd of sheep led by a lion can kill a herd of lions led by a sheep’.

One of my particular highlights was a session I attended looking at global challenges. It raised the intriguing contrast between a Western regulatory approach and how South-East Asia’s regulation draws on Confucian values. Also, of relevance to our current work on risk was a session on the use of data to inform risk-based regulation. This session described some innovative data-led projects from the GMC and the Australian Medical Defence Union.

Overall an absorbing few days, with lots of food for thought and potential for future projects.

Visitors from Malaysia

The Deputy Director and Chief Assistant Director of the Allied Health Sciences Division of the Malaysian Ministry of Health paid us a visit as part of a wider trip to the UK to find out more about the British professional regulation model and other health policy structures.

Malaysian visit August 2016

Ms Che Ruhani Che Jaafar (Deputy Director) and Ms Syuhairah Hamzah (Chief Assistant Director) met with Douglas Bilton and Michael Warren from the Authority’s Policy and Standards team to exchange ideas on issues such as the Malaysian delegates’ work on the establishment of a multi-professional regulation system and the Authority’s latest research for Regulation rethought and Right-touch assurance.