Regulating Healthcare Professionals, Protecting the Public Consultation
The full GCC response to the Department of Health and Social Care consultation
By Nick Jones, GCC Chief Executive and Registrar
The UK model of regulation for health and care professionals is rigid, complex and needs to change to better protect patients, support health services and help our healthcare workforce meet future challenges. To achieve this, regulators need to be faster, fairer, more flexible in protecting patients and in minimising costs to registrants. As the Department for Health and Social Care’s own consultation acknowledges, the case for reforming professional healthcare regulation has been made.
The General Chiropractic Council (GCC) has long been advocating the need for reform; providing regulators with the necessary powers to ensure the ‘protection of patient’ duties can be properly fulfilled. Currently, under many of the rules in place, regulators are unable to fulfil this duty and lack the ability and flexibility to make changes.
In the past, the GCC has sought the support of the Department of Health and Social Care to enable the legislative changes needed to improve our operations. This has proven difficult, not least to the potential of reform to the whole system, as proposed within this consultation. While this has been (and undoubtably will continue to be) a frustrating journey, it is now possible to see the potential benefits of the suggested reforms, and the positive impact they may have on the regulation of the chiropractic profession, its patients, and the public.
That said, it will be vital that these proposals are enacted. Regrettably, the history of professional health and care regulatory reform is one of stuttering progress with the necessary wholesale changes undelivered. The GCC cannot emphasise enough the importance of demonstrable and swift progress that needs to be made to modernise our health and care regulatory landscape.
Regarding this DHSC consultation, the GCC is largely supportive of the proposals, taken as an overall package, and believe they substantially improve on the powers currently granted. In some areas we make observations and suggestions for improvement with a view to being helpful and based on our significant experience.