Readers will be well aware of the fundamental reforms of the NHS that are set out in the Health and Social Care Bill (the Bill). This article solely relates to part 7 of the Bill – the regulation of health and social care workers.
One significant change proposed by the Bill is the abolition of the General Social Care Council. The social work profession in England will instead be regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (the new name for the current Health Professions Council).
The new Health and Care Professions Council will be overseen by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (the new name proposed for the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence). The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care will continue to scrutinise the nine professional regulators it is currently responsible for. It will, however, be funded in the future by those bodies if the Bill is enacted.
The Bill further proposes that regulators are given powers to start and to administer voluntary registers of previously unregulated health professionals, health workers and social care workers.
If the Bill is enacted then a further change will be the abolition of the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator which was to have taken over the adjudication of the General Medical Council’s fitness to practise cases.
User friendly details of the proposed changes to professional regulation can be found in the Enabling Excellence paper recently presented to Parliament.