Last reviewed 11 January 2022

The Government has launched a consultation on how the powers to introduce and remove professions from regulation might be used in the future.

A recent consultation sought views on the regulation of healthcare professionals and protecting the public, which committed the Government to look at the current make-up of regulated and unregulated professions.

Meanwhile, under the Health and Care Bill, the Government is looking to establish additional legislative powers to:

  • remove a profession from regulation

  • close down an individual health and care professional regulator

  • remove restrictions on the delegation of functions by the regulators

  • clarify that powers to introduce statutory regulation cover senior NHS managers and leaders and other groups of workers.

This Healthcare Regulation: Deciding When Statutory Regulation is Appropriate consultation seeks views on proposed criteria to make decisions about which professions should be regulated. It suggests that, at the heart of any such decision, there should be an assessment of the risk of harm that a profession poses to patients and the wider public.

The Government said it believes that the current regulatory landscape is the correct one and that the mix of regulated and unregulated professions should not be changed, except for the introduction of statutory regulation for physician associates and anaesthesia associates. However, it is interested in gathering views about whether:

  • when considering the criteria for regulation, any regulated professions no longer meet the test for regulation and should no longer be regulated

  • any unregulated professions meet the criteria for regulation and should be statutorily regulated.

There are no current plans across the four UK countries to bring further professions into regulation, in addition to physicians associates and anaesthesia associates, or to remove any professions from statutory regulation.

The UK-wide consultation considers both health and social care professions but does not look at the case for regulation of people working in the social care sectors in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as regulation of the social care workforce is a devolved matter.

The consultation, Healthcare Regulation: Deciding When Statutory Regulation is Appropriate, is open for responses from 6 January to 31 March 2022.