Plans to streamline regulation welcomed

Doctors’ defence bodies have welcomed Government proposals to streamline the way healthcare professionals are regulated.

Reacting to the publication today of the government consultation on Regulating professionals, protecting the public the MDU said it had been urging for the GMC to be given the power to be more agile and efficient.

Dr Caroline Fryar

Dr Caroline Fryar, head of advisory services, said many of the proposed reforms were centred around changes to the fitness to practise (FTP) process. 

‘Being investigated by the regulator is extremely stressful for medical professionals, so any reforms that can deliver a fairer and swifter process have the potential to be positive. 

‘Doctors are to be the first healthcare professionals subject to a new three-tier fitness-to-practise regime. We will be working closely with the regulator over the coming months as it creates new rules in readiness for this legislation.’

One proposal is for case examiners to have much more power in the FTP process – including issuing what they deem to be appropriate sanctions. 

The MDU said it would seek assurances about how this process could be established in the relatively short time-frame proposed by the Government. Fairness to registrants is a paramount concern. 

Dr Fryar added: ‘These are complex issues, so we will be considering the fine print carefully and responding to the consultation on behalf of members.’

Chris Kenny, chief executive of the MDDUS, said: ‘There is much to welcome in these proposals to modernise regulation of healthcare services.

‘In particular, the removal of the GMC’s right to appeal fitness to practise (FTP) decisions, the exclusion of reflective practice material in FTP cases, and a focus on the consideration of proportionality in changes to regulators’ rules, processes and systems.’ 

He urged the Government to introduce a statutory duty to protect the health and well-being of healthcare professionals as a priority.