Ministers “overwhelming support” Commissions’ ambitions for improvement
Recommendations made by the Law Commission on reforming the regulation of health care professionals have today been accepted by the Government.
Ministers have endorsed the vast majority of the recommendations for reforming the law on the regulation of health care professionals across the UK and the regulation of social workers in England.
Announcing the decision Health Minister Dr Daniel Poulter MP acknowledged in a statement the Government’s “overwhelming support” for the Commissions’ ambitions for improvement.
The changes are the product of a joint review undertaken by the Law Commissions of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Government’s formal response, signed by the Ministers for Health of each of the four countries, thanks the Law Commissions for their work and their comprehensive report published in 2014.
The response also trumpets specific suggestions including the need for a single, overarching objective of public protection for each regulator, wider powers and greater flexibility for regulators to investigate and dispose of cases and greater consistency in the conduct of fitness to practise panels.
Other recommendations that were highlighted were the need for greater separation between the regulators' investigation and adjudication functions, an overarching duty on the regulators to ensure the ongoing fitness to practice of registrants, and greater flexibility in how the regulators oversee medical schools and other forms of education.
The Law Commissioner for Public Law in England and Wales, Nicholas Paines QC welcomed the announcement, saying he was “delighted that the Government agrees with our position, has accepted the thrust of our recommendations and intends to legislate, when parliamentary time allows, to implement these important reforms.”
“The framework for promoting high standards of professional practice and behaviour, and holding health and social care professionals to account, needs to be brought up to date and made fit for the future.
“We have recommended that the existing legislation be swept away and replaced with a coherent legal framework, within which each regulator should be driven by the single objective of public protection,” he added.
See Nursing and Midwifery Councils' response