July 2009 advice to Secretary of State
We were asked by the Secretary of State to report on the regulatory issues arising from advanced practice. As the delivery of healthcare changes, some professionals are taking on responsibilities not traditionally associated with their roles. This could potentially pose a risk to public protection that regulators should manage. We found that risks to patient safety come from professionals taking on roles and responsibilities which they lack the competence to carry out safely and effectively or where they practise with inadequate safeguards. This means that regulatory bodies need to consider the risks to patients in the context of other established safety arrangements, for example, through employers’ safeguards. If an area of practice develops within a profession which poses different types of risk to patients and requires new standards of proficiency to be performed safely, regulatory bodies need to act. However, action should not be taken if there is no additional risk from a new role.