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Health Professions: Regulation

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will consult members of the public on the means by which health professional regulators are held to account to (a) the public and (b) Parliament might be achieved; and if he will make a statement. (280696)

Extensive public consultation has already taken place through two reviews of professional regulation in 2006: ‘Good doctors, safer patients’ and ‘The regulation of the non-medical health care professions’. Following these reviews the White Paper, ‘Trust Assurance and Safety—The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century’ was published in 2007, setting out a substantial programme of reform to the system of health care professional regulation.

As part of this programme of work a working group, chaired by Niall Dickson, produced a number of recommendations about ways to enhance public confidence in the health care regulators.

In 2008 and 2009 extensive reforms to the governance of the health care regulatory bodies was taken forward to provide for independently appointed councils with parity between lay and registrant members. These reforms also improved arrangements for accountability to Parliament. The health professions regulators are now required to produce an annual report and a strategic plan which must be laid before Parliament.

The Minister of State for Health and Lord Darzi have also written to the Leaders of the House of Commons and House of Lords to recommend that Parliament establish a committee on professional regulation.