The Dentist Magazine.

Free up healthcare regulators to do their job better, DDU urges

Published: 22/01/2018

The GDC and other regulators of healthcare professionals need to be given greater flexibility so they can become more efficient and responsive to the changing regulatory environment, the Dental Defence Union (DDU) said last Friday.

Responding to the Department of Health consultation on Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation the DDU said regulatory reform has been talked about for far too long and that action was needed now to reduce the time, stress and cost of regulatory procedures.

John Makin, head of the DDU, said, “The Department of Health’s consultation on reforming regulation provides a great opportunity to modernise the system of regulation. We have responded on our members’ behalf to point out that regulators such as the GDC urgently need to be freed from outdated legal structures that impede reform and modernisation. This would allow the GDC to continue to make the changes needed urgently to introduce a more proportionate system of regulation.

“While the regulators have limited influence over the number of complaints they receive, they know they can do a lot to investigate cases more swiftly and fairly. For example, the DDU believes it is in members’ interests for the GDC to be given powers to further reduce the number of unnecessary, stressful and costly fitness to practice hearings.

“There should be safeguards to ensure regulators use any new powers appropriately and that registrants are treated in a fair and transparent manner, but it is possible to achieve this by incorporating such requirements into the new legal structure.”

On the question of whether the healthcare regulators should be merged, the DDU said there was definitely scope for closer working relationships between the regulators to achieve efficiency and cost savings but further analysis was needed before any major structural changes were made.