The Health and Care Act
The Health and Care Bill has now passed into law as the Health and Care Act 2022. It is a large and wide-ranging piece of legislation, however the elements of interest for professional regulation include new powers for the Secretary of State to:
- merge or abolish any of the healthcare professional regulators
- deregulate professional groups.
We published our view of the Government’s proposals for reform of professional regulation in October 2021.
The Government commissioned KPMG to carry out a review of the regulatory landscape and provide options for reconfiguration. They also consulted on introducing a new transparent process for deciding when statutory regulation is appropriate, see further details below.
Within the wider provisions of the Act is the formal establishment of integrated care systems (ICSs). ICSs are partnership organisations that bring together providers and commissioners of NHS services across a geographical area with local authorities and other local partners to plan health and care services to meet the needs of the local population. This represents a shift from the previous focus on competitive purchasing of services via Clinical Commission Groups (CCGs).
The Government also amended the legislation to commit to introduction of a licensing scheme for non-surgical cosmetics, see further details below.
Non-surgical cosmetic procedures
The UK Government announced on 28 February that it intends to introduce an amendment to the Heath and Care Bill for a licensing regime in England for non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers. This follows recent new legislation to ban procedures for cosmetic purposes on under 18s in England. A public consultation will help inform the scope and details of the regulations. We have published our opinion on this amendment.
Healthcare regulation: deciding when statutory regulation is appropriate
The Government consultation was launched on 6 January and ran to 31 March 2022. The Government plans to introduce a new policy for deciding which groups should be regulated by law, based mainly on the risk they pose to the public.
We published a news update on the consultation announcement back in January along with some FAQs. We also submitted our formal response to the consultation welcoming the move to a transparent, risk-based approach to deciding which roles are regulated.