The Professional Standards Authority welcomes the Government commitment to introduce the role of Patient Safety Commissioner via its amendment to the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill.
This would introduce a key recommendation from the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review (‘the Cumberlege Review’) which we support. Sadly, a number of inquiries, up to and including the Cumberlege Review, have concluded that patients’ voices have not been heard within health and care, and therefore they need a champion.
The Review highlighted a ‘disjointed, siloed’ healthcare system. We urge the Government in implementing the role to ensure that it addresses rather than adds to the complexity. If the remit of the role is to be limited to medicines and medical devices, then it is crucial that the Patient Safety Commissioner has a duty to link closely with the work of other bodies involved in patient safety across the UK.
More broadly we call on the Government to ensure that it does not lose sight of the wider findings from the Cumberlege Review relating to patient safety. This must extend beyond this Bill to all areas of Government policy, including the long awaited reforms to healthcare professional regulation to which the Government has recently reaffirmed its commitment. Ahead of the public consultation, expected later this year, it is important that the Government recognises that in reducing bureaucracy and introducing greater flexibility for professional regulators there must be no reduction in oversight and accountability to maintain patient safety.
Our full response to the Cumberlege Review can be found here.
Our statement responding to the Government’s announcement on reform of professional regulation as part of Busting Bureaucracy is here.
Notes to the Editor
- The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees 10 statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
- We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are insufficient to protect the public and it is in the public interest.
- The Standards of Good Regulation are designed to ensure that the regulators are protecting the public but also promoting confidence in health and care professionals and themselves. The Standards cover the regulators’ four core functions: setting and promoting guidance and standards for the profession; setting standards for and quality assuring the provision of education and training; maintaining a register of professionals; and taking action where a professional’s fitness to practise may be impaired. There is also a set of General Standards.
- We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
- We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.
- We do this to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
- Our values are – integrity, transparency, respect, fairness and teamwork – and we strive to ensure that they are at the core of our work.
- More information about our work and the approach we take is available at www.professionalstandards.org.uk