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Regulators’ update

Health and care regulators

A new agreement for sharing healthcare concerns

Eight of the health and social care regulators as well as other bodies in the UK have signed a new agreement to help them effectively share concerns with one another. The Emerging concerns protocol provides a mechanism for sharing information and intelligence that may indicate risks to users of services, their carers, families or professionals.

The bodies involved are: Care Quality Commission, General Medical Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Health and Care Professions Council, Health Education England, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Nursing and Midwifery Council and Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Whistleblowing disclosures report 2018

A new legal duty came into force in April 2017 that required certain organisations to publish an annual report on the whistleblowing disclosures made to them by workers. The healthcare professional regulators are covered by this requirement and eight of the regulators published a joint report to show how they have handled disclosures and what actions have been taken.

You can find out more about the report from the regulators’ websites but this is a quick-link to the story published on the GPhC’s website.

General Medical Council

New guidance to help doctors with reflective practice

The GMC, along with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans and the Medical Schools Council has published new guidance which sets out key points and principles on being a reflective practitioner, and has been developed in response to requests from doctors for clearer information on what is meant by reflection, and practical advice on how to reflect. It outlines the importance of reflection for personal development, as a way of demonstrating insight, to help learning and to identify opportunities to improve patient safety. You can find out more from the GMC’s website.

Human Factors training to be rolled out for investigators

All of the GMC’s fitness to practise decision-makers, case examiners and clinical experts are to receive Human Factors training, and advice on modifying investigation processes, as part of a collaboration agreed with Oxford University’s Patient Safety Academy. Human Factors is a social science which studies and attempts to optimise the interactions of humans, technology and the environment at work. It is a standard tool of safety investigation and improvement in several industries such as civil aviation, nuclear power and military planning which seek to balance high risk and high reliability. Find out more from the GMC’s website.

General Osteopathic Council

New CPD scheme launches

The GOsC has launched (on 1 October) a new continuing professional development scheme for osteopaths. The new scheme is the result of several years’ work and consultations, involving hundreds of osteopaths, patients and others. Osteopaths will join the new scheme, with its three-year cycle of CPD, at various times over the next year depending on when they next renew their registration. Find out more from the GOsC’s website.

General Pharmaceutical Council

Consultation on changes to fees

The GPhC’s Council agreed to begin a consultation on an increase to some of its fees for 2019-20. You can find out more from the GPhC’s website.

Health and Care Professions Council

Consultation on revised Standards for prescribing

The HCPC has launched a consultation on draft revised Standards for prescribing. The current Standards for prescribing were published in August 2013. Since 2013, there have been important changes in non-medical prescribing practice and regulation. The consultation closes on 4 January 2019. Find out more about how to take part in the consultation from the HCPC’s website.

Fees consultation

The HCPC has also launched a consultation on proposals to increase the registration fees it charges. In the consultation, the HCPC is proposing an increase in the renewal fee from £90 to £106 per year, with a similar level of increases to the other fees charged.

The deadline for responding is 14 December 2018. Find out more about the consultation, including how to respond from the HCPC’s website.

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Final standards and supporting materials for nursing associates

The NMC has published the final standards of proficiency for the new nursing associate role. The Standards set out the skills and knowledge students will need to meet before they qualify. The NMC has also published programme standards that set out how nursing associate students will be taught. An updated Code, with a new introduction and some minor changes to reflect the introduction of the new nursing associate role has also been introduced. This will apply to all nurses, midwives and nursing associates from 10 October. You can find out more from the NMC’s website.

New approach to resolving complaints about nurses and midwives announced

The NMC has announced a new approach to resolving complaints about nurses and midwives. Under the new arrangements, where nurses and midwives can show that, despite something going wrong, they have learnt from what happened and are safe to continue working, the NMC may not seek to restrict their practice. The NMC will instead provide tailored advice and support to employers, nurses and midwives to enable professionals to learn from their mistakes. As part of the new process, improved support and information will be provided to patients and the public making complaints. This includes providing them with a dedicated point of contact as part of a new public support service. Find out more about from the NMC’s website.

Review into handling of Morecambe Bay chronology document

As part of the NMC’s response to the Authority’s lessons learned review of how they handled complaints about midwives at the Furness General Hospital (published in May), the NMC has announced that it has requested Verita, an independent body, to look at how it handled a specific piece of evidence in the Morecambe Bay fitness to practise cases. Terms of reference for the review can be found on the NMC’s website.

Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland

Draft Indicative Sanctions Guidance 2018 

The Council of the PSNI is consulting on new Indicative Sanctions Guidance for its Statutory Committee. This consultation will run for eight weeks and the deadline for responding is midday on 26 October. You can find out more from the PSNI’s website, including the draft guidance, the consultation document and the response forms.

Department for Health and Social Care

Introduction of statutory regulation for physicians’ associates and physicians’ assistants in anaesthesia

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has announced the introduction of statutory regulation for physicians’ associates and physicians’ assistants in anaesthesia, following direct engagement with the NHS workforce. You can read the full report  as well as a video of the announcement on Gov.uk.