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The four UK governments have collectively announced a consultation of the regulation of healthcare professionals and are seeking the views of healthcare workers as it shapes it plans for an overhaul of the regulatory system. 

They believe that the current model (which incorporates nine regulatory bodies monitoring 32 separate professions across four countries) has become too complex and outdated and needs to be changed if it is to protect patients, and meet future challenges. 

Currently, there are approximately 1.5 million people registered to practice in the UK’s healthcare professions and it is felt that there is much inconsistency in both practice and legislation amongst the current regulatory bodies. Initially developed to handle registrations and complaints, the role of the regulatory body has changed, with professionals now in steady contact with their regulator regarding fitness to practice and professional development. As such, each Regulator needs to be adapted to ensure it can meet the ongoing changes to the health and social care system which have been set out in papers such as the NHS Five Year Forward Review (England), the National Clinical Strategy (Scotland) and the ten-year vision set out in Northern Ireland’s Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivery Together report. 

The four UK governments believe that a cohesive UK-wide system of professional regulation is needed to support public protection and promote workforce development. In a detailed consultation document, the government sets out it’s aims to create a flexible model of regulation which will not only improve public trust and clinical practice, but will handle performance concerns more effectively as well as providing greater support to regulated professionals in a more efficient manner. 

The consultation (which can be accessed online) will consist of 24 questions and will be open until 23 January 2018. The government is encouraging all healthcare professionals to get involved and have their say on any potential reform.  

As always, we will keep you updated as more information is released, and we would strongly encourage all health professionals to participate in the consultation.  
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