Almost two years since the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched the consultation on ‘promoting professionalism, reforming regulation’, the Government’s response today has provided limited details or specific timelines.
Medical Protection urges the Government to expedite the removal of GMC’s right of appeal decisions made by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS). The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has the same power. There should be only one body with the power of appeal to avoid unjust and unnecessary duplication.
While the Government’s response today also highlights the importance of greater accountability and transparency to family members who have been affected by healthcare professionals, there is no mention of the same to the professions they regulate. This asymmetry of importance between the public and the profession does little to restore confidence among the profession.
Dr Rob Hendry, Medical Director at Medical Protection said:
“Medical Protection is deeply concerned that the long-awaited response from the Government does not set out clear details on what they will do next and when.
“The GMC’s power to appeal decisions by MPTS must be squashed without any delay. This power is unnecessary and merely duplicates the role of the PSA in such situations.
“The removal of the GMC’s right of appeal was a central recommendation in our submission to the Williams Review. This change is now urgently needed in order to restore the professions’ trust in the regulator. It must not be rolled up into and held back by broader proposals for reform which will take many years to implement.
“It is welcome that the Government has confirmed its intention to give greater flexibility to the GMC to shape how they investigate concerns. We have always broadly supported this approach, provided there is proper accountability and consultation. However, any additional freedom given to the regulators to reform their processes must be accompanied by safeguards to ensure they adequately consult with stakeholders first, while processes must remain fair, transparent and consistent.”
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