The Government’s response to its 2022 consultation, that seeks to reform healthcare regulation in the UK, has been met with a mixed response by the UK’s healthcare regulators.

You can read more about the Government’s response in our article “Government publish response to future of regulating healthcare professionals”.

Whilst the response and roadmap was generally welcomed, the details were less well received.

In brief, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it will “will replace the regulators’ current legislation, through a series of statutory instruments, giving each regulator near identical powers through broadly similar legislation”.  It further said that priority will be given to GMC reform, followed by the NMC and HCPC.

In response to this, the General Dental Council said:

“We welcome the publication of the Government’s proposals for the next steps in regulatory reform. But we are extremely disappointed by the timetable set out by DHSC, as fundamental reform of our legislation still appears to be years away at best. The current legislative framework is a real barrier to efficient, effective and proportionate regulation and the need for reform is urgent.

“We think the reform programme needs to go faster, in the interests of the public and patients, and of the dental professionals we regulate.”

Conversely, the General Medical Council welcomed the response, saying:

“The new legislation will serve as a template for the future reform of regulatory framework for other healthcare professionals, including doctors, and will enable us to be a more effective, relevant and compassionate regulator in the years ahead.

“It’s been nearly 40 years since the legislation which underpins how we operate was introduced, and reform is long overdue. Our current legislation is complex, overly prescriptive and slow to adapt to change.”

General support was also expressed by the Nursing & Midwifery Council that said it “…welcomes this eagerly anticipated important milestone on the road to reform.”  It continued:

“We’re working hard to prepare for reform, collaborating with the public, nursing and midwifery professionals, and our partners in health and social care. We look forward to working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to develop these changes and put them into place as quickly as possible to benefit the public and communities we serve.”

The HCPC said:

“On behalf of the HCPC Council, I welcome the Government’s public commitment to this major regulatory reform of our antiquated legislation. These changes speak to our central purpose of public protection underpinned by professional excellence. We shall use the opportunity to become fitter for the future, a compassionate, effective and forward-thinking regulator.”

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