We have now published our full response to the Government's consultation. You can read it here.
What are 'accepted outcomes' and why are we worried?
Future regulatory reform must add to public protection, not reduce it
We welcome the Government's consultation - Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public - as a positive move to improve regulation, but we are also worried that some of the proposals put forward could inadvertently reduce public protection, transparency, and accountability.
Our main concern is a proposal for regulators to handle complaints (including the most serious) using a system called ‘accepted outcomes’, without a public hearing and with outcomes agreed directly between the registrant and regulator. It is not the proposed introduction of 'accepted outcomes' which is causing us concern, we support any move to make the fitness to practise process less stressful for everybody involved. What is worrying is the proposed lack of any independent check on decisions made in this way.
Currently, we can check all final fitness to practise panel decisions and take action if we consider a decision is insufficient to protect the public (this power was given to us under section 29 of the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002). This consultation proposes no such safety net. Read our 'first look' report which goes into more detail.
Speed isn't necessarily safer
Below we set out our main concerns relating to 'accepted outcomes' and also how you can get involved. We understand the need to make regulation simpler (and support it) but it cannot be at the cost of public protection. However, we believe that with some simple changes to the Government's reform plans, we can modernise regulation without compromising public protection. Read our short report Three things to get right for public protection
Don't miss this chance to have your say and make sure public protection is at the heart of any future reforms. We believe that if we work together we can improve regulation and make sure public protection sits at the front and centre of future reform.
Find out more / useful resources:
- Read our short report First look at Government consultation on reforming regulation
- Read our report on the Three things to get right for public protection
- Frequently asked questions explaining more about fitness to practise, section 29 and the proposals put forward in the Government's consultation Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public
- The added value of our power to appeal which goes beyond the appeal process itself and brings extra benefits including creating case law, improving decision-making and making the fitness to practise process fairer and more transparent
- Read through some examples of our power to appeal in practice in these case studies
- Read independent research we have commissioned to help inform our views on regulatory reform: Does consistency between regulators matter? and Patient and public perspectives on future fitness to practise processes
- Find out more about our thoughts on fitness to practise reform