Healthcare regulation under review: when is statutory regulation appropriate?

The Department of Health and Social Care is consulting on how the powers to introduce and remove professions from regulation might be used in the future. There are nine regulators of healthcare professions in the UK, regulating 34 professions across the UK.

The consultation document explains that the government does not have any current plans to bring additional health or social care professions into statutory regulation, with the exception of physician associates and anaesthesia associates. Nor do they intend to remove any professions that are currently subject to statutory regulation.

This consultation is part of a broader programme of reform of the regulation of health, and in England, social care professionals. The Government has consulted on proposals for reforming the legislation that underpins how the healthcare professional regulators operate in order to deliver, “simpler, more consistent and flexible system”.

Back in 2020 the Government commissioned the “Busting Bureaucracy Review” (the Review) to look at the number of UK regulators. The Review found that having nine separate professionals regulators was inefficient and confusing. This latest review is expected to consider whether the current set of regulators might be “simplified to provide better public protection in a more efficient way”.

Some readers may recall that Sir Robert Francis, who chaired the 2013 Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Inquiry, expressed his concern about the number of existing healthcare regulators.

This consultation seeks views on:

  • the criteria used to assess whether a profession requires statutory regulation;
  • whether there are existing regulated professions that no longer need to be regulated; and
  • whether there are unregulated professions that require statutory regulation.

Have your say

The consultation closes on 31 March 2022 and you can respond online here. You can view the consultation document here. Annex A sets out a list of regulatory bodies and the professions they regulate.

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