Recent news relating to Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), General Medical Council (GMC), General Dental Council (GDC), Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). 

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC has published their Annual Education Report for 2013. This provides an overview and analysis of trends in the HCPC’s approval and monitoring processes for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The approval and monitoring processes are intended to ensure that all approved higher education programmes meet the HCPC’s standards of education and training. Students who complete an approved course can apply for HCPC registration.

General Medical Council (GMC)

The GMC has responded to the National Care of the Dying Audit of Hospitals. Chief Executive Niall Dickson said that there is still some way to go to provide excellent hospital care at the end of life, despite the fact that the UK leads the world in palliative care. He indicated that the findings should be a wake-up call and reiterated the GMC will continue to produce material and work with schools, trainers and doctors on the front line to raise the profile of the issue. He noted that in this demanding area of medicine at least some of the failings in hospitals appear to be as a result of poor communication. He stressed that doctors should be familiar with the GMC’s guidance ‘Treatment and care towards the end of life’ to inform their practice.

General Dental Council (GDC)

The GDC has commented on the consultation on proposed new rules for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

The GDC received just over 600 responses from a range of individuals and stakeholders, including dental professionals, postgraduate dental deaneries and professional associations.

The consultation found the following responses:

  • 60.7% agreed with the proposed high level CPD learning outcomes;
  • 79.5% agreed with the proposed requirement to undertake a minimum of 10 hours CPD in each consecutive period of 2 years;
  • 73.5% agreed with the proposed CPD documentary evidence required; and
  • 84.5% agreed with the proposed approach to CPD for those holding Temporary Registration with the GDC.

The GDC has stated that it will consider the range of comments received prior to making a final decision on enhanced CPD, which is expected later in 2014.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

The NMC is currently revising the NMC Code (the Code), which sets out the fundamental standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives in the UK. The revision of the Code has been informed by the recommendations of the recent healthcare reviews, including the Francis Report.

As such, the NMC is seeking responses from the public, patients, nurses, midwives and organisations who may be affected by changes to the Code.

The revised Code will also include revalidation, the process to be introduced at the end of 2015 which will require all nurses and midwives to regularly confirm to the NMC that they are fit to practise.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar said,

The Nursing and Midwifery Council exists to protect the public, and the Code is central in all that we do. It explains exactly what is expected of all nurses and midwives’

Jackie Smith also visited 10 Downing Street to make the case for the Regulation of Health and Social Care Professions Etc. Bill to be included in this year’s Queen’s speech and stated:

‘This bill would in the future enable the NMC to make some fundamental and much-needed changes to the current system of delivering public protection [and] give flexibility, particularly in our fitness to practise processes which are time consuming and expensive’.

General Pharmaceutical Society (GPhC)

The GPhC has issued new guidance for registered pharmacies preparing unlicensed medicines. This is the first guidance document to be published by the GPhC as part of the standards for registered pharmacies and the GPhC’s inspectors will have regard to it during inspections.

The guidance sets out the key areas that need to be considered by the pharmacy owner and superintendent pharmacist in any registered pharmacy where unlicensed medicines are prepared by a pharmacist or under the supervision of a pharmacist.

It advises owners and superintendents on how they can demonstrate that they achieve the requisite standards and how they can ensure the safety of patients and the public when preparing unlicensed medicines.

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

The SRA has issued its response to Professor Gus John's Independent Comparative Case Review (ICCR) report. This response has been informed by engaging with key stakeholders including BME solicitors and organisations and the Law Society’s Equality and Inclusion Committee. The main findings were as follows:

  • that BME solicitors continue to be disproportionately over-represented at key stages of the regulatory process
  • that there was no evidence of direct discrimination, including in the individual cases reviewed, in the way the SRA applied its regulatory policies and processes.