Health

HEALTH & CARE PROFESSIONS COUNCIL

HCPC to review approach in assessing English language proficiency for international applicants

All international applicants applying to join the HCPC Register are asked to confirm their English language proficiency. Those applying through the Swiss Mutual Recognition route do not need to provide evidence of their English language proficiency, unless applying to be a speech and language therapist and have declared English is not their first language.

When English is not an applicant’s first language, they must provide certified evidence of a completed test which demonstrates they meet the minimum required levels for their relevant profession. The HCPC currently recognises two English language tests with the following scores achieved as a minimum requirement-

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – minimum score of 7.0 with no element below 6.5, or 8.0 with no element below 7.5 for speech and language therapists.

Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (internet based test) – minimum score of 100/120 or 118/120 for speech and language therapists.

The HCPC is in the process of reviewing their current approach to assessing English language proficiency, considering when and how applicants demonstrate their English language communication skills when applying for registration. They are preparing a series of stakeholder engagement activities which will inform a public consultation in March 2023, with the new requirements being in place by September 2023 at the earliest.

GENERAL MEDICAL COUNCIL

The GMC has apologised after an independent review found it incorrectly applied a legal test when considering allegations of dishonesty

The learning review, co-chaired by Professor Iqbal Singh CBE and Martin Forde KC, was commissioned by the GMC, to help identify whether there were lessons to be learnt by the GMC following Dr Arora’s case that could be applied to future cases. Dr Arora’s tribunal hearing had caused concern amongst the medical profession regarding the GMC’s process and decision making, including whether bias played any part.

The report concludes that the dishonesty allegation against Dr Arora should not have been brought forward and that the GMC missed multiple opportunities to review whether the allegations were sufficiently serious to be referred to a tribunal and that they need to do more to embed a culture of professional and cultural curiosity and speaking up. The report found no clear or conclusive evidence to suggest that biased thinking affected Dr Arora’s case but that the GMC needs to proactively seek out bias, rather than simply looking for reassurance it doesn’t exist.

The report can be found here.

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive and Registrar of the GMC, said:

'I welcome the report by Professor Singh and Martin Forde. Their examination of this case has been detailed, searching and constructive and I am grateful for their expertise and insight.

'The GMC accepts all of their recommendations without reservation. It is clear that there were decisions we did not get right and for those I have apologised to Dr Arora.

'The report’s co-authors found no evidence of bias at any stage of our decision making, or data to dispel those concerns. Like them, I believe that we must go further than simply comforting ourselves that bias is not apparent. The GMC is a collection of humans, each with their own biases. The challenge for us is to continue to seek out potential bias and address it head-on.

‘We share the aspiration of the review’s co-chairs that modern regulation should contribute to a better health system which is compassionate, fair and supportive. The recommendations in this report will help us to achieve those aims.’

NURSING & MIDWIFERY COUNCIL

New anti-racism resource for NHS nursing and midwifery professionals

NHS England, in partnership with NHS Confederation and the NMC, has produced a new resource that supports nursing and midwifery professionals working in the NHS to combat racism.

The resource can be found here. 

It includes practical examples and tools to help professional discuss, explore and challenge racism safely and effectively.

GENERAL DENTAL COUNCIL

GDC launches public consultation on updated Interim Orders Committee guidance

On 10 November 2022, the GDC launched a 12-week public consultation on proposed updates to their Interim Orders Committee Guidance and associated information.

The review aims to deliver the following objectives:

  • Ensure consistency in approach to immediate risk.
  • Improve transparency of interim order rules, considerations and decisions.
  • Ensure decisions are proportionate and appropriate to the risks posed.
  • Provide comprehensive guidance to panellists

Proposed improvements include:

  • Giving additional guidance on ongoing criminal proceedings, such as the types of cases that are likely to be particularly damaging to public confidence, and consideration of sentencing in the case of a criminal conviction. 
  • Providing further detail on the considerations for panellists, and additional weight to the seriousness of sexual assault, harassment and violence.
  • Adding new guidance on joint hearings where there are multiple registrants.
  • Providing further detail on considerations for the handling of cases where there is an existing restriction on a dental professional’s practice in place.
  • Adding reference to the mode of hearing, including remote hearings and conducting interim order reviews by correspondence where the registrant does not attend.
  • Giving details of the approach and weight to be given to testimonial evidence

The consultation can be found here and closes on 2 February 2023.

Health

HEALTH & CARE PROFESSIONS COUNCIL

HCPC to review approach in assessing English language proficiency for international applicants

All international applicants applying to join the HCPC Register are asked to confirm their English language proficiency. Those applying through the Swiss Mutual Recognition route do not need to provide evidence of their English language proficiency, unless applying to be a speech and language therapist and have declared English is not their first language.

When English is not an applicant’s first language, they must provide certified evidence of a completed test which demonstrates they meet the minimum required levels for their relevant profession. The HCPC currently recognises two English language tests with the following scores achieved as a minimum requirement-

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – minimum score of 7.0 with no element below 6.5, or 8.0 with no element below 7.5 for speech and language therapists.

Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (internet based test) – minimum score of 100/120 or 118/120 for speech and language therapists.

The HCPC is in the process of reviewing their current approach to assessing English language proficiency, considering when and how applicants demonstrate their English language communication skills when applying for registration. They are preparing a series of stakeholder engagement activities which will inform a public consultation in March 2023, with the new requirements being in place by September 2023 at the earliest.

GENERAL MEDICAL COUNCIL

The GMC has apologised after an independent review found it incorrectly applied a legal test when considering allegations of dishonesty

The learning review, co-chaired by Professor Iqbal Singh CBE and Martin Forde KC, was commissioned by the GMC, to help identify whether there were lessons to be learnt by the GMC following Dr Arora’s case that could be applied to future cases. Dr Arora’s tribunal hearing had caused concern amongst the medical profession regarding the GMC’s process and decision making, including whether bias played any part.

The report concludes that the dishonesty allegation against Dr Arora should not have been brought forward and that the GMC missed multiple opportunities to review whether the allegations were sufficiently serious to be referred to a tribunal and that they need to do more to embed a culture of professional and cultural curiosity and speaking up. The report found no clear or conclusive evidence to suggest that biased thinking affected Dr Arora’s case but that the GMC needs to proactively seek out bias, rather than simply looking for reassurance it doesn’t exist.

The report can be found here.

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive and Registrar of the GMC, said:

'I welcome the report by Professor Singh and Martin Forde. Their examination of this case has been detailed, searching and constructive and I am grateful for their expertise and insight.

'The GMC accepts all of their recommendations without reservation. It is clear that there were decisions we did not get right and for those I have apologised to Dr Arora.

'The report’s co-authors found no evidence of bias at any stage of our decision making, or data to dispel those concerns. Like them, I believe that we must go further than simply comforting ourselves that bias is not apparent. The GMC is a collection of humans, each with their own biases. The challenge for us is to continue to seek out potential bias and address it head-on.

‘We share the aspiration of the review’s co-chairs that modern regulation should contribute to a better health system which is compassionate, fair and supportive. The recommendations in this report will help us to achieve those aims.’

NURSING & MIDWIFERY COUNCIL

New anti-racism resource for NHS nursing and midwifery professionals

NHS England, in partnership with NHS Confederation and the NMC, has produced a new resource that supports nursing and midwifery professionals working in the NHS to combat racism.

The resource can be found here. 

It includes practical examples and tools to help professional discuss, explore and challenge racism safely and effectively.

GENERAL DENTAL COUNCIL

GDC launches public consultation on updated Interim Orders Committee guidance

On 10 November 2022, the GDC launched a 12-week public consultation on proposed updates to their Interim Orders Committee Guidance and associated information.

The review aims to deliver the following objectives:

Ensure consistency in approach to immediate risk. Improve transparency of interim order rules, considerations and decisions. Ensure decisions are proportionate and appropriate to the risks posed. Provide comprehensive guidance to panellists

Proposed improvements include:

Giving additional guidance on ongoing criminal proceedings, such as the types of cases that are likely to be particularly damaging to public confidence, and consideration of sentencing in the case of a criminal conviction.  Providing further detail on the considerations for panellists, and additional weight to the seriousness of sexual assault, harassment and violence. Adding new guidance on joint hearings where there are multiple registrants. Providing further detail on considerations for the handling of cases where there is an existing restriction on a dental professional’s practice in place. Adding reference to the mode of hearing, including remote hearings and conducting interim order reviews by correspondence where the registrant does not attend. Giving details of the approach and weight to be given to testimonial evidence

The consultation can be found here and closes on 2 February 2023.

Finance

FINANCIAL REPORTING COUNCIL SETS OUT PRINCIPLES FOR PUBLIC INTEREST TEST

On 14 November 2022, the FRC published a set of principles it will use to assess whether the public interest is best served by carrying out regulatory, supervisory and enforcement work that is outside of its primary regulatory perimeter as it transitions to the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority.

In determining whether pursuit of an action is in the public interest based on the information available, the following will be considered:

a. Is there a need to take regulatory action to maintain justifiable public confidence in:

  • the regulated professions and activities (i.e. accountancy, audit or actuarial);
  • corporate reporting as a whole; and/or
  • corporate governance as a whole?

b. Does the nature, extent, scale and gravity of the matter give rise to a serious public concern and does it currently or potentially:

  • concern a body of systemic importance or one whose shares are traded publicly;
  • affect a significant number of people;
  • cause (or have the potential to cause) significant financial loss or other harm; and/or
  • relate to criminal, illegal, fraudulent or unethical behaviour?

c. Is it proportionate to undertake the action or activity, and has consideration been given to whether relevant regulatory action is being taken by another regulator?

View the full public interest principles here.