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Coronavirus - how we are working during the pandemic


The Coronavirus pandemic has touched upon every aspect of every one's daily lives. Its impact on patients and the health and care sector – for those who work in it and those who regulate it – will be long-lasting.

Regulators – both professional and system – have needed to react quickly to help boost the NHS workforce. We have prepared some Q&As about how we are working and the approach we will take to our oversight of the 10 health  and care professional regulators and the Accredited Registers.

We have  published guidance for regulators on virtual fitness to practise hearings - you can read it here. We have also published our Learning from Covid-19 review - using case studies to examine how the regulators reacted to the first wave of the pandemic between March to July 2020.



What has been our focus during this time?

Our main focus continues to be public protection - our role during this time, as an oversight body, has been to offer support and guidance to ensure that measures introduced to deal with Covid-19 are proportionate but also protect the public. It is vital that the regulatory system provides as much flexibility and support for professionals as possible while still safeguarding patients and the public and ensuring that all regulatory bodies remain accountable.

Following government advice in March, our staff are all working from home. You can find out how to contact us here.




Will we continue to carry out your assessments?

Yes. We have a statutory duty to report on the regulators' performance so we will continue with our performance reviews - however they will be proportionate. We realise that the pandemic is placing unprecedented pressures on healthcare professionals and their regulators. The priority for all of us is to act in the best interests of patients and public safety and we have been supportive of the regulators making temporary changes to respond to the challenges raised by Covid-19. However, we also need to make sure that these changes do not introduce additional significant risks for patient and public safety.



What about our oversight of Accredited Registers?

We recognise that as a result of the Covid-19 emergency, the accredited registers we oversee will face significant challenges and have to work in different ways. This means that there may also be an impact on timeliness for submission of annual renewal applications and responses to our requests. We will work with the Registers to agree adapted timetables where this is needed.

There are 88,000 professionals covered by our Accredited Registers Programme, including around 55,000 mostly self-employed counsellors and psychotherapists – this could prove an invaluable resource to support those affected by Covid-19, including front-line health and care professionals.


What will happen next?

There is no doubt that Covid-19 is a game changer for all of us. In the longer-term, we will need to consider how this crisis might change the regulatory landscape. We are already starting see reports about its impact on patients who need urgent cancer treatments as well as the disproportionate number of deaths among the UK's Black and Minority Ethnic population. 

We will need to learn lessons for the future, both in relation to our own approach and to the entire regulatory system.

This page will be updated as the situation evolves.




Find quick links to all the Regulators' Covid-19 website hubs here


Quick links

Read our recent blogs related to Coronavirus and regulation

Read our blog on Agility in a time of crisis

There is no blueprint for how a regulatory system should respond to a pandemic. However, the six principles of right-touch regulation – proportionate, consistent, targeted, transparent, accountable and agile could provide a framework 

We met (virtually) with regulatory colleagues to discuss how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted our work and how it is likely to have long-lasting effects and and shape regulatory policy well into the future.

With the Coronavirus pandemic placing unprecedented pressures on those working in health and care and those who regulate and register them – our Chief Executive discusses how to balance the need for flexibility with accountability and ensure that professional regulation is acting in the best interests of patient and public safety.