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Reforming regulation: let's get reform right for public protection

The Government is consulting on regulatory reform, we need to work together to make sure this round of reform has public protection at its heart. Find out more in this short update.

Read, review, respond?

Read more about the consultation, including our concerns

Review our FAQs and other material - giving more detail

Respond - get involved and have your say

 

Reforming regulation: help us get it right for public protection


In mid March, the government published its consultation Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public. Though we welcome much of what has been put forward as part of this consultation, we do have concerns about some of the proposals, particularly related to reform of fitness to practise. We believe these could inadvertently create a gap in public protection. We hope this short update explains more about our concerns and encourages all of us with an interest in regulation to get involved. We believe that with a few simple changes, these reforms could be put back on track. Read on to find out more.

Any proposals that reduce the stress and time for all parties involved in the fitness to practise process are definitely at the top of our regulatory reform 'to do' list. But this should not result in a reduction in public protection, fairness and transparency. The consultation puts forward a new approach for how regulators deal with concerns about their registrants: accepted outcomes. But unlike the current system where there is an in-built independent safety check on regulators' final fitness to practise decisions, and a power to appeal decisions insufficient to protect the public, there is no such proposal in the consultation. 

Read more about our concerns in our short 'first look' report.

Our independent power to double-check fitness to practise decisions was borne out of inquiries into regulatory failings in the early 2000s. The consultation could be taking a step backwards in public protection if there is no independent oversight of decisions made using accepted outcomes. This will make the regulator the investigator, judge, jury and appeal. 

Read our dedicated webpage or see the FAQs which go into more detail.

Instead of a system to independently review final decisions made using accepted outcomes, the proposal is that patients/the public will have to request a review via the regulator's registrar if they are unhappy with the result. This puts the burden of public protection on the shoulders of the people regulation is meant to serve. This system also loses all the additional benefits that our independent oversight brings to regulation, including creating case law, clarifying the process and providing a rich source of data which can help identify patterns and themes across the regulators and lead to improvements in the process. 

Read Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public here. The deadline for responding is 16 June 2021. We are happy to talk through our concerns in more detail, if you would like to speak to us, email engagement@professionalstandards.org.uk and we will get in touch.

Thank you for taking the time to read this short update.


Our Location

 

Professional Standards Authority

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London

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T 020 7389 8030

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