Regulatory Press Round-Up: February 2013

1 March 2013

Health and Care Professions Council

The Department of Health (DoH) have issued a consultation on a proposal which would require all healthcare professionals to have indemnity insurance. The proposal does not extend to Social Workers in England. It is thought that the requirement will be met either through an employer or through separate cover secured through a professional body.

Views are sought from stakeholders including regulatory bodies, during a twelve week consultation, following which the HCPC will provide a response to the DoH. This will be considered at the Council’s meeting on 27 March 2103.

Meanwhile, the HCPC will begin the process of drafting guidance for its registrants to explain how the new legislation will affect them and how the HCPC will check that their indemnity insurance is in place. Stakeholders will be consulted on the guidance.

General Dental Council

Changes to the Fitness to Practise processes at the GDC, which began in 2011, have started to show significant results. Progress made so far includes an increase in the number of cases completed within 6 and 9 months from referral, and a reduction in the number of cases awaiting a final hearing.

The number of fitness to practise cases received by the GDC has more recently increased. In order to deal with a higher volume of case work effectively, some changes have been introduced. These include a review of the entire process, more Investigating Committee meetings and a new triage process to scrutinise cases immediately upon referral.

Further reforms to the GDC legislative framework were presented to Council Members on 14 February 2013. It is thought that with these changes, the GDC will be able to make long term improvements to its investigation process.

General Medical Council

The GMC has welcomed plans by the Government to give them new powers to check language skills of doctors from Europe. The purpose is to prevent doctors from practising if they are unable to speak English to a standard that is considered to be safe.

Chief Executive of the GMC, Niall Dickson said, “This is good news for patients - the Health Minister’s announcement today will help strengthen patient safety across the UK”.

It is anticipated that these changes will come into effect sooner rather than later.

On 31 January 2013, new guidance came into effect on how to prescribe medicine safely. The new guidance directs doctors to avoid self-prescribing and prescribing for their families outside of emergency situations. Furthermore, doctors must not prescribe performance-enhancing drugs to athletes.

Niall Dickson has said, “safe prescribing is at the heart of good medicine and it's a skill that doctors must develop and keep up to date throughout their careers.”

*All information correct at time of press and can be accessed on each of the individual regulator’s websites

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