Health and care regulation ‘unfit for future’ says Professional Standards Authority
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The regulatory framework for health and social care is out of date, over-complicated, too expensive and needs radical change, says the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) in a report, ‘Rethinking Regulation’ published on August 5th.
The body, which oversees organisations that regulate health and care professionals in the UK, has called for redesign of regulation in order to deal with pressure on the health and care sector. Without reform, the authority argues, health and care systems in the UK cannot face up to future challenges including an ageing population, long-term conditions, co-morbidity, the rising cost of health technologies and a global shortage of health and care workers.
PSA chief executive Harry Cayton said piecemeal adjustments to health and care regulation had, over time, made the system cumbersome, ineffective and expensive.
“Every part of our health and care system is changing in order to meet future needs,” said Mr Cayton.
“If patients are to benefit, regulation must undergo radical change too. Regulation is asked to do too much – and to do things it should not do. We need to understand that we cannot regulate risk out of healthcare and to use regulation only where we have evidence that it actually works. Ironically, the regulations that are meant to protect patients and service users are distracting professionals from this very task.”
The report, which can be accessed at www.professionalstandards.org.uk presents the arguments as to why regulation isn’t fit for purpose now and needs to be reformed so that it better supports professionals providing health and care. It argues that regulation of professionals cannot be changed in isolation but must take account of the places in which they work. It calls for deregulation, less regulation and better regulation. ‘Rethinking Regulation’ makes a series of recommendations intended to reshape how regulation works. These include:
- Shared objectives for system and professional regulators
- Transparent benchmarking to set standards
- A rebuilding of trust between professionals, the public and regulators
- A reduced scope of regulation so it focuses on what works
- A proper risk assessment model
- To place real responsibility where it lies; with the people who manage and deliver care.