Westminster consultation raises merger question

A ‘Super Regulator’ is one of the options under discussion in regulation reform plans

24 November, 2017 / infocus

A government consultation on the future of healthcare regulation has again raised the possibility of a merger between current regulatory bodies.

The General Dental Council’s (GDC) Chief Executive and Registrar Ian Brack, welcomed the UK Department of Health consultation saying that “Fundamental reform and modernisation to health professional regulation is overdue” but that “in the absence of firm legislative plans, reform within the existing legislation needs to be at the centre of proposals for change”.

Brack insists that the dental regulator is pressing ahead with its own reform plans, first published in January this year, as “crucially, our reform plans are not dependent on legislative change”.

However, despite 62 per cent of its members supporting the idea of an amalgamated healthcare regulator, the BDA has warned that it probably wouldn’t prove to be a panacea.

Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said: “Dentists have had to contend with the most expensive and least effective health regulator in Britain, but it’s unclear if merger is a silver bullet.

“We can understand the appeal of a Super Regulator among ministers. It offers the look of big change, and someone else will pick up the tab. The challenge will be achieving real efficiencies without losing vital expertise.

“It would be easy to gloss over severe systemic problems with a cursory rebrand. Real reform requires a watchdog that really understands the challenges patients and practitioners are facing.”

The GDC recently announced that the Professional Standards Authority has concluded that the regulator has now met 23 out of 24 standards following its annual review. The GDC has now got full marks in standards and guidance, education and training, and registration, while nine out of 10 standards for Fitness to Practise have now been met.

Tags: GDC / merger / Westminster

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