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Proposed regulator changes revealed

Proposed regulator changes revealed


Changes to healthcare regulator powers which will be officially unveiled on 2 April 2014 have been uncovered by The Commissioning Review.

The Law Commission for professional regulation of health and social care will change the rule making powers of healthcare regulators. 

The 227-clause legislation will consist of new reforms and create a single statute to replace the current “outdated and inflexible legal framework”, as described by David Cameron, Prime Minister.

Tim Spencer-Lane, lawyer of the Public Law Team at the Law Commission, revealed at a Westminster Health Forum event in London that the new system will set out to create greater transparency within the system. 

The government have been known to influence professional regulation and excise their power through the Privy Council.

With the new statue and legislative reform in place, the principal rule of the Privy Council will be removed. The latest statue will describe clearly where and where not the government can intervene in professional regulation.

Spencer-Lane believes that the “reform is an essential element of the future of professional regulation”.

He said: “We want to give regulators greater discretion, how they use those powers, in most cases, will be left to them”. 

The Commission describes the current legislative framework as “extremely convoluted”, with each regulator having their own statute which governs how they undertake regulation. 

Tim Spencer-Lane said “We want to make sure that the system is transparent and try to delineate clearly what the legitimate role of the government in professional regulation.”

He believes another problem with the current “out-of-date and inflexible” framework is that achieving change is very difficult. 

It can take up to two years for a section 50 order to go through. Spencer-Lane said this prevents regulators from responding quickly to changes occurring in the environment around them.

The new framework will allow for a more rapid response to changes and shift the regulatory system to one he hopes will be more pro-active in response to adversity.

The Law Commission Review was setup in 2011 on the back of the “Enabling Excellence” proposal. Although the government initially talked about a simplification review, the new legislation aims not to simplify the framework but to reform and change it.

Jackie Smith, chief executive and registrar of Nursing and Midwifery Council showed her support for the new reforms.

She said: “We are very excited about the prospect of a law commission and we would plead with the Department of Health and the ministers to ensure that it becomes a reality because if it doesn’t I don’t know where that leaves regulators and expectation of regulators.”


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