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Regulators’ (and Department of Health) update

Health and care regulators

Department of Health 

Regulating medical associate professions in the UK

The Department of Health has recently launched a consultation on regulating physician associates. It is likely that these professionals will be widely employed in the health service in the future, so it is timely to explore the options for professional regulation.

The consultation is seeking views on proposals:

  • to introduce statutory regulation for physician associates
  • to seek further evidence on the most proportionate level of regulation for physician assistant (anaesthesia)
  • to seek views on the position that statutory regulation, of the surgical care practitioner and the advanced critical care practitioner roles, is not proportionate, and whether alternative options for professional assurance should be considered.

For the purposes of the consultation, the Department of Health has grouped together these roles under the term 'Medical Associate Professions' (MAPs).

The consultation also seeks initial views on prescribing responsibilities. It also asks which healthcare regulator should regulate these professions if the four UK health departments decide to take forward statutory regulation for any or all of the MAP roles.

The deadline for responses is 22 December 2017. You can find our more about the consultation at: consultations.dh.gov.uk/workforce/regulation-of-medical-associate-professions/consultation

Nursing associates

The Department of Health is also consulting on amendments to the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001, to regulate nursing associates in England. The consultation closes on 26 December 2017. Find out more at: dh.gov.uk/professional-standards/regulation-of-nursing-associates-in-england/

Want to know more about the Department of Health? Find out more in this short interactive guide

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a short interactive PDF which summarises what the Department of Health and NHS England do, how much they spend, as well as recent and planned changes and details the organisations the Department oversees. You can download the guide from the NAO’s website

Still unsure and want to know more?

The Kings Fund has also produced a whistle-stop animation about how the NHS in England works and how it is changing.

Regulators' update 

Conflicts of Interest

Chief Executives of the statutory regulators of health and care professionals have produced a joint statement which sets out how they expect health and care professionals to avoid, declare and manage conflicts of interest across all healthcare settings.

The joint statement is intended to support the standards or code for each profession and any additional guidance they have produced on this topic. The statement has been produced at a time when healthcare is moving towards multi-disciplinary teams who will be registered with different regulators and subject to different codes and standards and it was felt the time was right to outline a consistent approach.

Find out more about the joint statement and/or read the full text.

General Medical Council

The GMC has launched a consultation on the knowledge, skills and professional behaviours needed by newly-qualified doctors. The deadline for responses is 10 January 2018. You can find out more from the GMC's website

General Osteopathic Council

The GOsC is proposing changes to this guidance to help enhance transparency and consistency in decision-making by its Professional Conduct Committee. The revised guidance will also help ensure that, in the most serious cases, appropriate sanctions are imposed that take account of the confidence of the public.

The consultation closes on 15 December 2017. Find out more from the GOsC's website.

General Pharmaceutical Council

The GPhC recently launched new education and training standards for pharmacy technicians as well as announcing changes to the criteria for registering as a pharmacy technician. You can find out more from the GPhC's website

Health and Care Professions Council

HCPC launches consultation on the threshold level of qualification entry to the Register for paramedics

The HCPC has launched a consultation  on changing the threshold level qualification for entry to the Register for paramedics. The 12-week consultation runs until Friday, 15 December 2017. You can find out more from the HCPC's website.

New HCPC commissioned research 'People like us? Understanding complaints about paramedics and social workers' published

This new research carried out by the University of Surrey sets out to improve understanding of the reasons for the disproportionately high number and nature of complaints to the HCPC about two professions – paramedics from across the UK, and social workers in England. Both these professions show a higher rate of referral than other professions regulated by HCPC. It also considers what preventative action could be taken to address the issues and themes brought out in the report.

Find out more about the report from the HCPC’s website.

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Changes to the NMC’s fitness to practise legislation came into effect from 28 July 2017. Changes relate to:

  • Warnings, undertakings and advice
  • Reviewing case examiner decisions
  • A single Fitness to Practise Committee
  • Substantive order reviews.

You can find out more about the changes from the NMC’s website.

Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland

The PSNI has launched a consultation on draft Premises Standards. The deadline for responses is midday on Monday, 27 November 2017. You can find out more about the consultation from the PSNI’s website.