Government to consider halving number of healthcare regulators

CREDIT: This story was first seen in the National Health Executive

New reforms on the regulation of UK healthcare professionals have been opened for consultation by the Department of Health, the National Health Executive reports.

The plans will take a complete view of current methods of regulation in an attempt to improve conditions for patients and increase efficiency in the healthcare system.

Proposals are expected to look at each regulatory body in the four countries of the UK individually and decide whether they have the appropriate range of powers to respond to concerns about an individual’s fitness to practise.

The report released alongside the consultation confirms that the government “believes there is a case” for reducing the number of current regulatory bodies from nine to just “three or four”. It says a smaller number of organisations would be able to provide a clearer platform for patients and professionals while maximising economies of scale.

The report says: “The regulation of healthcare professionals must change in order to protect patients, to support the transformation of our healthcare services and to meet future challenges. It needs to be faster, simpler, better and less costly.

“When people access healthcare, they trust that the professionals they encounter are properly trained and qualified, that they will treat them with dignity and respect, and that they will not mistreat or harm them.”

In addition to streamlining organisations, the new reforms could give some regulators greater powers by opening up access to all kinds of sanctions which were otherwise limited to certain areas.

Another major aim of the plans is to create a more flexible system which is better able to deal with a quickly changing landscape of practitioners and healthcare.

The consultation is open until January 23 and the report on new proposals is available to view here.

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