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Government backs overhaul of regulation of healthcare professionals

9 February 2015 - 2:41pm

The government has accepted the majority of law commission recommendations on reforming the regulation of health and social care professionals across the UK.

Patient safety

The regulations prioritise public protection and patient safety

The recommendations were published by the three law commissions for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2014. They aim to modernise professional regulation and to prioritise public protection and patient safety.

They also aim to create a more common approach across the regulators, including the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

The CSP contributed to the law commissions’ reviews. Although the government has accepted most of the recommendations, no legislation to alter the regulatory framework will be progressed before the general election in May.

Specific recommendations accepted by the government include:

  • regulators must have continuing professional development requirements, but it is left to regulators’ discretion whether revalidation is introduced
  • more commonality of approach to fitness to practise processes should be achieved across regulators, including that the processes are more transparent to the public
  • the importance of the regulators’ role in approving education programmes is affirmed, with the potential for them to extend this role in new ways
  • the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) should continue to award accredited voluntary registers to organisations where members are not subject to statutory regulation
  • the regulators should be able to continue to hold voluntary registers, at least until the impact of the PSA accredited voluntary registers scheme has been evaluated

CSP assistant director of practice and development Sally Gosling said: ‘We will continue to keep the progress of the government's response under careful review, taking account of potential implications for how members are regulated by the HCPC and how other regulatory activities are progressed in ways that could impact on physiotherapy practice and education.

‘As part of this we will continue to take opportunities to comment and input to proposals and to keep members posted on significant developments.’

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