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Regulators’ update

Health and care regulators

This section continues to provide links through to the regulators’ Covid-19 website hubs which are frequently updated. But we have also returned to some business as usual updates, including recent reports and consultations.

Government consultation on conversion therapy

The Government has launched a consultation (England and Wales) seeking views on banning conversion therapy. This is a six week consultation seeking views on a package of proposed measures that will apply to England and Wales. The deadline for responding is Friday, 10 December. You can find out more details from Gov.UK

Joint regulators whistleblowing report 2021

Eight of the regulators we oversee have published their joint Whistleblowing report 2021. This report covers the reporting period April 2020-March 2021 and is published jointly by: the General Chiropractic Council, the General Dental Council, the General Medical Council, the General Optical Council, the General Osteopathic Council, the General Pharmaceutical Council, the Health and Care Professions Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

General Chiropractic Council

Draft guidance on the use of diagnostic imaging consultation

The GCC is inviting feedback on its draft guidance so that its Council can consider making any changes prior to the publication of final guidance.

The guidance is designed to assist chiropractors in their decision-making around the use of diagnostic imaging. It has been developed to help protect patients and the public as well as promoting the best use of imaging for the effective assessment and care of patients. The guidance is based on the principles of evidence-based practice and informed consent. The guidance, background document and discussion document can be found on the GCC’s consultation page or you can find out more about the context to the changes from the GCC’s website. The consultation closes on 26 November 2021.

Incident reporting and its value to improve patient safety

The GCC has reminded its registrants how important it is to report incidents as well as identify potential risks. This is outlined in the GCC’s Code. But it also important that registrants put arrangements in place to identify potential risks within their practice that could impact on patient outcomes. The GCC registrant survey provided insights into the steps some practices take to deliver safe patient care. According to the findings, over a half of registrants (58%) working in clinical practice report that their workplace has a patient safety incident reporting system in place. Almost a quarter (23%) stated that their practice does not have a reporting system. A further 12% of respondents did not know and 7% preferred not to say. Find out more from the GCC’s website.

Communication and understanding patient boundaries

The GCC has also reminded its registrants about communicating with patients. The nature of a chiropractor’s work often involves seeing patients semi-clothed so clear communication needs to be established with patients about what the treatment involves. The GCC has underlined to its registrants how important it is to inform patients in advance about, for example removing their underwear and/or gown. Find out more on the GCC’s website.

Report on GCC strategy consultation published

The GCC has published the outcome of its consultation on its Strategy 2022-24. By the end of its consultation, nearly 400 registrants had attended online webinars and 1,300 people had visited the consultation page. You can read the consultation report or find out more about the GCC’s Strategy from its website.

GCC Covid-19 hub

The GCC’s website hub includes advice for students and patients, changes to how the GCC will hold conduct committee hearings, rapid response as well as regular updates and news. 

General Dental Council

Annual report and statistics for fitness to practise and registration

The GDC has published its annual registration and fitness to practise statistical reports that supplement its annual report and accounts 2020. Information covered includes, total number of registrants, additions and removals, equality and diversity profiles. The Fitness to Practise Statistical Report includes a range of statistics relating to the number of concerns received, who they were from, how cases were processed, and the breakdown of outcomes following fitness to practise hearings.

You can find out more from the GDC’s website

GDC's Covid hub

The GDC’s Covid-19 website hub includes guidance for the public and its registrants, GDC updates as well as useful links to Covid-19 information from other organisations. 

General Medical Council

National Training Survey

The GMC has published its annual national training survey completed by more than 63,000 UK doctors – all trainees or trainers. Covid-19’s impact has been felt with a demonstrable increase in the responses to questions about burnout. A third of trainees said they felt burnt out to a high or very degree because of their work, compared to around a quarter in previous years. Three in five said they always or often felt worn out at the end of a working day, and 44% felt their work was ‘emotionally exhausting’ to a high or very high degree. Trainees’ responses to seven wellbeing-related questions, across all medical specialties, saw a swing towards negative answers compared to previous years. Although trainees and trainers reported worsening levels of burnout, the quality of training remained high, and similar to pre-pandemic levels. Around three-quarters (76%) of trainees rated the quality of teaching as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, and almost nine in ten (88%) described their clinical supervision as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Read the national training survey 2021 summary report or find out more from the GMC’s website

Physician Associates and Anaesthesia Associates: pre-qualification education framework

The GMC is asking for feedback on the draft pre-qualification education framework for PAs and AAs. The GMC has worked with the Royal College of Physicians, Faculty of Physician Associates, the Royal College of Anaesthetists, and universities with PA or AA courses to develop the draft pre-qualification education framework for physician associates and anaesthesia associates.

The framework sets out the learning outcomes expected of newly qualified PAs and AAs to be able to demonstrate before they can join the GMC’s register and begin practising. There are several documents to provide feedback on and to do so, you need to complete a questionnaire. The deadline for completing the questionnaire is 17 November 2021. You can find out more from the GMC’s website.

The GMC has also published its future professional standards for PAs and AAs. You can find out more here.

GMC Covid-19 hub

The GMC’s website has all its Covid-19 related information including advice for doctors and patients, medical students and trainees and information about temporary registration. 

General Optical Council

Consultation on new requirements for contact lens opticians

The GOC is consulting on new requirements for contact lens opticians. The consultation is seeking views on three documents:

  • Outcomes for Approved Qualifications for specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician
  • Standards for Approved Qualifications for Specialist Entry to the GOC Register as a contact lens optician
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Method for Specialist Entry to the GOC Register as a contact lens optician.

The deadline for responding is 13 December 2021 and you can find out more from the Consultation Hub on the GOC’s website.

Consultation on illegal practice

The GOC has launched a consultation on Illegal optical practice. The GOC's illegal practice strategy and protocol were last reviewed in 2015 and the GOC wants to better use resource to to develop a strategy that links more closely with its overarching public protection function.  The deadline for responding is 19 January 2022. You can find out more about the consultation, including how to respond from the GOC's website

FTP focus on case examiners

The GOC has published its fourth edition of FtPFocus, its learning bulletin for registrants on the fitness to practise process.

The edition includes two types of case studies, two which cover cases that were eligible for an agreed panel disposal hearing, and three which examine cases referred to a FtPC hearing. 

You can download this edition, as well as previous editions from the GOC’s website.

GOC Covid-19 hub

The GOC’s Covid-19 hub includes advice for its registrants and the public.

General Osteopathic Council

Raising a concern about an osteopath

The GOsC is reminding patients, the public and osteopaths about how to raise concerns about an osteopath. The GOsC highlights the types of instances when it would be appropriate to contact them, for example when an osteopath is:

  • acting in a dishonest, indecent or violent way
  • working under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • having a personal relationship with a patient
  • examining or treating a patient without their consent
  • incompetent (which is when an osteopath’s work fails to meet the GOsC's standards.

Members of the public can raise a concern with the GOsC by contacting its  Regulation Department on 020 7357 6655 x224 or by emailing: regulation@osteopathy.org.uk. The GOsC is also working in partnership with the charity Victim Support to provide a confidential support service to anyone involved in fitness to practise cases. The Victim Support Helpline is available 24/7, every day of the year on 0300 303 1964. You can find out more information from the GOsC's website:

New Council Associates programme

The GOsC’s Council has approved a new Council Associates Programme – an initiative to identify and develop future governance leaders within the profession. As part of the programme, two osteopaths will be chosen to become Council Associates from April 2022 and given the opportunity to shadow Council and develop new skills with the aim of enabling them to undertake future non-executive roles either at the GOsC or elsewhere. You can find out more from the GOsC's website.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Framework 2021-24

At the same July meeting the GOsC’s Council approved its new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Framework 2021-24.

GOsC Covid-19 hub

The GOsC has a Covid-19 area on its website. It includes guidance for registrants and the public, advice from government, useful links and updates. 

General Pharmaceutical Council

Managing concerns about professionals

Following consultation feedback, the GPhC has published Managing concerns about pharmacy professionals: our strategy for change 2021-26.

You can also read the feedback received in the consultation report. The GPhC is currently working on a plan to implement the strategy with plans to publish it later in the Autumn.

Consultation on changes to enable more pharmacists to begin independent prescriber training

The GPhC is seeking views on its proposals to remove the requirements for registered pharmacists to have two years of clinical practice, and to have relevant experience in a specific clinical or therapeutic area, before they can enrol on an accredited independent prescribing course. Views are also being sought on retaining the requirement for course participants to identify an area of clinical or therapeutic practice as the basis of their learning and in which to develop their practice. The deadline for responding is 23 November 2021. You can find out more about the consultation, including how to respond from the GPhC’s website.

GPhC's Covid-19 hub

The GPhC’s Coronavirus website hub includes latest updates and advice, including Q&As.

Health and Care Professions Council

Consultation on permanently amending rules to hold hearings remotely

Similar to other regulators we oversee, HCPC was granted powers by the Department of Health and Social Care to hold remote hearings during the pandemic.

Due to expire at the end of September the HCPC would like the ability to continue holding remote hearings in circumstances where it is fair and practical to do so. Therefore HCPC is asking for views from stakeholders on this proposal, including reasons why or why not HCPC should hold remote hearings once the emergency period ends. The consultation is open until 23 November 2021 and you can find out more from the consultation page on HCPC’s website or more details here.

HCPC launches perception survey

The HCPC has launched a survey aimed at understanding how gathering information on how its stakeholders view it and how the results can feed into its new Corporate Strategy. The survey closes on 30 November 2021. You can find out more from the HCPC's website.

HCPC's Covid-19 hub

The HCPC’s Covid-19 website hub includes FAQs and advice for registrants, temporary registrants, members of the public, students and education providers. 

Nursing and Midwifery Council

New Test of Competence

The NMC announced in early August that its first candidates took its new Test of Competence (ToC). The test enables professionals trained outside the UK and those returning to practice to demonstrate they have the right skills and knowledge to join the NMC’s register. The NMC also published  a range of resources to help candidates, employers and recruiters prepare for the new test. You can find them, and more details about the new test on the NMC’s website.

NMC and me research

The NMC is carrying out research looking at the way it engages with different groups of people, including professionals on its register, as well as students, employers and our key partner organisations. The project is ongoing and the NMC hopes to publish results in December. You can find out more from the NMC's website.

NMC's Covid-19 hub

The NMC’s website includes information for their registrants, students, overseas candidates, employers, as well as patients. It also includes FAQs and information about how to raise a concern about someone on their Covid-19 temporary register. 

Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland

The PSNI’s website includes FAQs, advice and guidance as well as the latest Covid-19 updates. 

Social Work England

New standards for teaching social workers of tomorrow

In June, Social Work England launched a new set of education and training standards. Over 80 education providers teaching social work in England must meet the new standards. The new standards are designed to ensure student social workers meet the professional standards they need to be able to apply for registration with Social Work England. Find out more from Social Work England’s website, including the new standards and comprehensive guidance.

First annual report as the specialist regulator

Social Work England published its first annual report for the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. Taking over the regulation of social workers in England from HCPC on 2 December 2019, it has been operating under the pandemic for most of its existence and its annual report reflects this and Covid’s impact on its first full year.

You can view and download the annual report or find out more from Social Work England’s website

Social Work England's Covid-19 hub

SWE’s website includes information for registrants, the public, students, education providers and employers.