Press Round-Up: Regulatory and Professional Discipline August - September 2019

1 October 2019

A Regulatory press round-up from August to September 2019.

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

  • Following a public consultation the HCPC has revised the standards for prescribing, which took effect as of 1 September 2019. These standards apply to registrants who are trained in supplementary or independent prescribing. The HCPC have now adopted the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s ‘A Complete Framework for all Prescribers’. This includes new competencies considered necessary for prescribing practice.

    Please see the revised Standards for prescribing here.


Cross regulator update

The second annual Whistleblowing Disclosures Report has been published which provides details of whistleblowing disclosures made by workers to UK healthcare professional regulators between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019. 

  • Of the 35 whistleblowing disclosures received by the GMC during the reporting period, 33 were made to the Fitness to Practise directorate. 19 of these were closed after an initial assessment, preliminary or full investigation. 
  • In the reporting period the General Dental Council (GDC) received 75 whistleblowing disclosures. In 56 of those disclosures regulatory action was taken, namely the opening of fitness to practise cases.
  • The General Optical Council (GOC) received 19 disclosures in the 2018/19 reporting period, all of which were placed in the fitness to practise triage system for formal assessment. 10 of these cases subsequently resulted in some regulatory action being taken.
  • The General Osteopathic Council received 2 disclosures, both of which were investigated under fitness to practise procedures.
  • The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) received 16 whistleblowing disclosures with 5 of these resulting in regulatory action whilst a further 7 remain under review.
  • The HCPC received 9 whistleblowing disclosures. The majority of these were received by the Policy and Standards department in the form of policy enquiries with Registrants seeking advice that their employers continued to meet the HCPC standards. Of the 9 disclosures, 8 were referred onto an alternative body. Regulatory action was taken in the remaining case.
  • The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) received 34 whistleblowing disclosures in the reporting period, all of which were dealt with by the Fitness to Practise directorate. Regulatory action was taken in all of these cases, either by the NMC itself or following referral onto an alternative body.

    Please see the full report here.


Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

  • The Future Midwife Standards are to go before the NMC governing council for approval on 3 October 2019. The new standards, developed in consultation with midwives, student midwives, families and other healthcare professionals across the UK, identify the levels of proficiency, education and training for existing and pre-registration midwifery programmes. If approved by the NMC governing council the new standards will take effect in September 2020 and by fully implemented by September 2021.

    The standards for proficiency and the papers for the Council decision on 3 October can be accessed here.


General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

  • The GPhC has taken action after identifying patient safety concerns in relation to the supply of high-risk medicines online during recent inspections. Where appropriate, enforcement action has been taken against owners of registered pharmacies as well as individual pharmacy professionals.

    The GPhC updated guidance on providing pharmacy services at a distance, published in April 2019, can be found here.

    The letter from the Duncan Rudkin, CEO of the GPhC, to all pharmacies requesting information on actions they have taken following the new guidance to ensuring patient safety online can be seen here.   


Care Quality Commission (CQC)

  • The CQC, along with other regulators of healthcare services including the GMC, the GPhC and the HCPC, have published a joint statement in regards to the online provision of healthcare services.

    This statement can be read through the CQC website here.


General Optical Council (GOC)

  • The Professional Standards Authority Performance Review, covering the period 1 October 2017 to 31 December 2018, has reported that the GOC has met 22 out of 24 standards of good regulation. The report notes improvements have been made in the fitness to practise processes, including the introduction of acceptance criteria to assess whether a complaint may constitute a fitness to practise allegation and changes to the triage process to determine when a formal fitness to practise investigation will be opened.

    The full report, as well as key points and highlights, can be accessed via the Professional Standards Authority website here.   
  • The GOC has announced the launch of a four-month pilot scheme, concluding on 31 December 2019, of an enhanced triage process for fitness to practise complaints. This will give the GOC greater discretion in closing cases at an earlier stage in the assessment process by allowing the GOC to conduct further enquiries into complaints before a formal fitness to practise investigation is opened. The triage decision-making process is underpinned by Acceptance Criteria to determine which complaints warrant a fitness to practice investigation.

    The Acceptance Criteria can be accessed via the website here.


Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

  • The FCA has updated and published draft directions under its Temporary Transitional Power (TTP), which gives the FCA flexibility in applying post-Brexit requirements. The TTP is intended to be used to ensure that firms and other regulated entities do not need to prepare now to meet the changes to their regulatory framework connected with Brexit. The published directions would only come into effect on exit day if the UK leaves the EU without an implementation period.

    A note on the updated directions and links to the draft directions themselves can be found on the FCA website here.  


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