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DH sets out new plans for the regulation of health professionals

23 March 2009

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Measures to improve the regulation and governance of healthcare professionals have been set out in two reports published by the Department of Health.

The Tackling Concerns Nationally and Tackling Concerns Locally reports are part of wider government reforms on professional regulation designed to raise professional standards and ensure patient safety.

The two reports are the result of external working groups taking forward the implementation of the reforms announced in the white paper Trust, Assurance, Safety: the Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century over the last 18 months.

Tackling Concerns Nationally makes recommendations on professional regulation and assuring patient safety at a national level. It sets out recommendations for the establishment of the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator, which will look at cases brought forward assessing fitness to practise for healthcare professionals.

Tackling Concerns Locally sets out recommendations and principles of best practice to strengthen local NHS arrangements for identifying poor performance among healthcare workers and taking effective action.

Local implementation will be supported by more detailed operational guidance and by regulations to be introduced by the Department of Health later this year, after consultation with interested parties.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: “Our overriding priority is to ensure that patients and the public are protected. The recommendations outlined will put in place the best systems, both locally and nationally, to identify and address concerns about individual professional conduct and competence.

“These reports go a long way to further ensure healthcare standards in the NHS are high, and to reassure both public and professionals that the systems and processes put the safety of patients at their heart, while being fair to staff.”

Department of Health