Department of Health and Social Care’s response to consultation on reforms to regulation of healthcare professionals

The Department of Health and Social Care has at long last responded, for itself and the Devolved Governments, to the Department’s consultation last year on reforms to regulation of healthcare professionals: 

As widely predicted, the response suggests a minimalist approach to reform – only the statutory regulators are affected, and the focus is on fitness to practise. Even the suggestion that some regulators might be merged has been put back for further consideration. 

UKPHR was a respondent to the consultation. We argued for a wider reform of the regulation of healthcare professionals and that Accredited Registers should be recognised in law as part of the regulatory system. 

We are pleased to see that there is one mention of Accredited Registers at paragraph 5.25 of the Department’s response. The Department states that “The UK and Devolved Governments believe the decision to regulate healthcare professional groups must be based on the risk of harm, with statutory regulation only used where the risks to public and patient protection cannot be addressed in other ways (for example through employer oversight or accredited registers)…” 

This is a useful recognition of the contribution Accredited Registers already make to the regulatory framework. 

Legislation will be needed to make the few changes being proposed. It remains to be seen whether the scope of the legislation will allow the introduction of any amendments relevant to Accredited Registers. 

Chief Executive of UKPHR, David Kidney says: 

This has the potential be a significant moment in the development of the Accredited Registers programme. Overseen by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care and underpinned by statute, Accredited Registers should, UKPHR believes, form a seamless part of a continuum of regulation and be recognised in law as such.