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Regulation of Health and Social Care Professionals

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 17 December 2015

The Government remain committed to reform of the regulation of health and—in England—social care professionals. The Government are grateful for the work of the Law Commissions of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in making recommendations and has been considering how best to take these forward.

Our priorities for reform in this area are better regulation, autonomy and cost-effectiveness while maintaining and improving our focus on public protection. We intend to consult on how these priorities can be taken forward, taking account of the Law Commissions’ work on simplification and consistency and building on the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care’s paper “Rethinking regulation” published in August 2015. We will present proposals that give the regulators the flexibility they need to respond to new challenges in the future without the need for further primary legislation.

We recognise the need for some immediate reform in this area. Subject to parliamentary time we plan to take forward reforms to regulators’ rule-making process and the way that the larger regulators deal with concerns about their registrants. This will improve accountability and make the system more efficient and effective.

This Government remain committed to the principle of proportionate regulation of healthcare professionals. Having considered the arrangements already in place to ensure that public health specialists from backgrounds other than dentistry or medicine are appropriately registered and qualified, the Government do not consider that extending statutory regulation to this professional group is necessary. To this end, they will not be taking forward secondary legislation in this regard.