In an important development, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published its response to its proposals to reform the regulation of healthcare professionals.

Between 24 March and 16 June 2021, the government sought views on proposals to reform the regulation of healthcare professionals.

The consultation sought views on proposals to modernise the legislation of the healthcare professional regulators. The proposals have been developed in partnership with the professional regulatory bodies, the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care and tested with key stakeholders across the health and care system.

The proposed reforms cover 4 key areas:

  • governance and operating framework
  • education and training
  • registration
  • fitness to practise

The Department of Health and Social Care have now published its response to the consultation.

It said:

“The government has committed to reforming the legislative framework for regulated health and care professionals across the UK. This is a rare and significant opportunity to deliver a large-scale programme of reform that will implement improvements to the system of professional regulation, to the health and care workforce and, most importantly, to patient and public safety. Successive governments have considered such reforms, but these have never come to fruition, until now.”


New legislation

  • The DHSC will replace the regulators’ current legislation, through a series of statutory instruments, giving each regulator near identical powers through broadly similar legislation. 
  • Each regulator with greater autonomy to set out the details of their regulatory procedures in legislation that they themselves publish, called rules.
  • Regulators will be required to consult on their rules but will not need to secure the approval of Parliament or the Privy Council to make their rules, giving increased flexibility to rapidly adapt their processes and procedures to changing requirements.

The DHSC noted however that:

“Replacing multiple pieces of legislation will be a long-term project, but we plan to work with each regulator to identify any variation to our template proposals, which will then be consulted on. Where possible, we envisage working on the legislation of multiple regulators at the same time to quicken the pace of the overall programme.”

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