The Professional Standards Authority (the Authority) has welcomed the signal by Government in the Health and Care Bill published yesterday that it intends consider a more risk-based approach to which health and care occupations are regulated, together with a review of the number of professional regulators.
Section 123 of the Health and Care Bill includes powers for the Secretary of State to use secondary legislation to merge or abolish any of the healthcare professional regulators and to move professional groups out of statutory regulation.
The Authority has cautioned, however, that any proposals for reconfiguration of regulators or changes to which groups are regulated must have a clear focus on maintaining and enhancing public protection. In addition, any new powers must come with appropriate safeguards to avoid compromising regulatory independence.
The Authority has previously called for a simplification of the regulatory landscape and for a more risk-based approach to deciding which professions are regulated by law. It has published Right-touch assurance outlining criteria for assessing risk and providing advice to Government on which professions should be regulated.
The Authority has laid out some principles to guide what reforms to professional regulation should aim to achieve:
- Greater coherence of the regulatory system to support modern, multi-disciplinary health and social care
- More interprofessional working and flexibility between professions
- A safe and appropriate balance of accountability and flexibility in the work of the
- Overall, a more effective public protection framework, that listens to patients and responds to their concerns, and has the confidence of the public and professionals.
Professional Standards Authority Chief Executive Alan Clamp said:
‘The Health and Care Bill represents a major development in the Government’s programme of reforms to healthcare professional regulation and an opportunity to make changes to simplify and improve regulation for the benefit of all.’
‘The Authority supports simplification of the regulatory landscape and has called for this in our own proposals for reform. However, any changes must be rooted in the purpose of regulation which is to protect the public and must avoid compromising regulator independence.’
‘We will be examining the detail of the Bill and commenting further in due course.’
Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care
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.
- 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
- Health and Care Bill introduced to Parliament on 6 July 2021 (with an explanatory note) – Section 123 of the Bill concerns professional regulation and provides additional powers to enable the abolition of professional regulatory bodies and the deregulation of professions.