‘If this bill is not portion of the Queen’s Speech on three June all of the healthcare regulators will be caught with “outdated and inflexible” frameworks.’ Photograph: Pool/REUTERS
The publication this month of the draft law commission bill, regulation of overall health and social care professionals, was a crucial milestone for individuals, the public, and the healthcare regulators whose frameworks it will revolutionise.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), of which I am the chief executive and registrar, is hampered by a framework that has not adjusted to the modern day age.
The prime minister, in his response to the Francis inquiry report final 12 months, promised that the law commission bill would “sweep away our outdated and inflexible framework” and its publication goes someway to performing that, but we are not there however. In its initial response to the bill, the government has only “committed to legislate on this important situation when parliamentary time permits”.
This is not excellent sufficient. We are investing far more than £44m – which is nearly 80% of our spending budget – on fitness to practise hearings. We are holding 22 hearings a day, which is equal to Birmingham and Southwark crown courts put together. This is unsustainable inside of our present framework.
We need to have the law commission bill to be picked up in the ultimate session of this parliament if the NMC is to introduce new ways of disposing of situations, with a assortment of sanctions more acceptable to the present day era. It is also important if we are to meet our commitment to conclude 90% of our cases inside of 15 months. It is in the greatest interests of the public and nurses and midwives that the NMC is in a position to conclude situations as rapidly feasible and in the most successful way.
In the command paper Enabling Excellence: Autonomy and Accountability for Healthcare Staff, Social Staff and Social Care Employees, published in 2011, the government acknowledged that the existing legislative frameworks for all of the overall health and social care regulators are “high-priced, complex and need continuous government intervention to maintain them up to date.”
This “continuous government intervention” has meant the two the NMC and all of the other regulators have struggled to adapt rapidly adequate to reflect the ever-modifying healthcare landscape. To adjust our legislation now calls for agreement from the Division of Overall health followed by privy council and parliamentary approval. This slow and cumbersome method takes on typical amongst 18 months and two years. This impedes our capacity to make crucial improvements quickly.
The bill would also enable all 9 of the healthcare profession regulators to operate collectively a lot much more closely and even, if wanted, to share functions. Francis himself manufactured this a essential recommendation in his report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS basis trust.
Sadly, I dread that if this hugely important bill is not component of the Queen’s speech on three June all of the healthcare profession regulators will be caught with “outdated and inflexible” frameworks that do not serve to shield the public in the most effective and productive way.
Jackie Smith is chief executive and registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council
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