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What lessons can professional regulation learn from the Coronavirus crisis?

The Professional Standards Authority has today published Learning from Covid-19, a study of the actions taken by regulators in the first phase of the pandemic, to July 2020.

The report identifies the new ways of working introduced by regulators, such as online fitness to practise hearings and course accreditation. Some established temporary registration, and all used their websites to publish guidance on how professional standards apply in the unprecedented circumstances.

The report identifies where there is potential for changes in practice to become the new normal, while also identifying where further planning, research and discussion will be needed. It contains 28 case studies provided by the regulators, looking in detail at the changes they made in specific areas. It also includes summary comments from a sample of stakeholders who responded to a call for views.

Commenting on the new report, Chief Executive Alan Clamp said:

“Our report identifies early lessons from the initial emergency phase of the pandemic. 

The regulators we oversee rapidly changed the way they do their work to help control the spread of infection, support and guide registrants and students, contribute to an increased workforce, and keep the show on the road.

There are many examples of positive innovations but the challenge now is to ensure that they do not diminish public protection or patients’ voices. We must also seek to understand better the pandemic’s unequal impacts, and how regulation can contribute to greater equality in future.”


Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care


Notes to the Editor

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees 10 statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
  2. 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.
  3. We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. This report contains 28 case studies from the 10 UK health and social care professions regulators - these are in the regulators' own words and have not been edited or formatted into Authority house-style. To make it easier to read, we have also created a separate section with just the case studies in it.
  7. Our values are – integrity, transparency, respect, fairness and teamwork – and we strive to ensure that they are at the core of our work.
  8. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at