MDU backs report calling for urgent need to reform healthcare regulators such as GMC

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has welcomed the findings of a review into the way healthcare regulators such as the GMC have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Today’s publication of the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care’s (PSA) Learning from Covid-19 review found a number of reforms have taken place at the regulators because of the pandemic. Changes include a greater use of technology to enable remote participation in fitness to practise proceedings. However, the PSA concludes that the crisis has reinforced the urgent need for regulatory reform, to make healthcare professional regulation more agile.

Dr Matthew Lee, professional services director, said:

“Medical professionals have waited a long time to see the GMC reformed. We agree with the PSA that the pandemic has highlighted the need for that reform to be delivered at pace. This cannot be delayed any longer.

“While the GMC has adapted fitness to practise and other processes they are constrained by outdated legislation. The government is now consulting on detailed proposals to reform the GMC and has committed to introduce legislation later this year which will be in force by early 2022. The government must stick to this timetable.

“Today’s report from the PSA notes that organisations like the MDU have been concerned about the prolonged process of reform. We have been calling for regulatory reform for many years. We now have concrete proposals and a commitment to deliver reform for GMC processes within the next 12 months, which is very welcome. However we do not want to see reforms carved up across different bits of legislation and delivered in a fragmented way.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown healthcare professionals at their best. It is now time to get on with the job of reforming their regulators.”