NHS Employers welcomes this White Paper and its supporting documents, which should improve the quality and safety of care that patients receive from NHS staff.
White Paper: Trust, Assurance and Safety, The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century
NHS Employers is particularly pleased that your views and our response on behalf of employers has helped to shape the White Paper and ultimately help improve quality and safety for patients.
Crucially, the White Paper recognises the importance of local employers in professional regulation and gives them new responsibilities to confirm the continuing competency of their staff for revalidation purposes.
Key proposals that will affect employers include:
- all health professionals will be required to undergo periodic revalidation based on appraisal
- introducing a system of regional GMC affiliates who will provide support for local employers in addressing concerns about doctors and assuring local revalidation processes
- a new measure of recorded concerns to allow for the local regulation of concerns about a doctor’s conduct or practice
- closer co-operation and co-ordination between employers and regulators when a health professional enters employment for the first time.
- a review of the PCT performers list agreement.
We are fully supportive of the White Paper’s introduction of regular revalidation for clinical staff, which will help them maintain the highest professional standards. We will be working with employers, the professions and the regulators to create an effective revalidation system which is underpinned by strong appraisal processes.
The White Paper also contains proposals about the role and structure of national regulators, which are not of direct concern.
Safeguarding Patients is the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Shipman Inquiry’s fifth report and to the recommendations of the Ayling, Neale and Kerr/Haslam inquiries.
NHS Employers believe that the proposals from this publication which are likely to have the most impact upon employers include:
- better support available for patients who want to register concerns
- all organisations providing services to NHS patients to have clear policies setting out how staff can raise concerns
- more rigorous checks on references and qualifications when health professionals are recruited
- improving the way information about professionals from different sources is handled so that appropriate action can be taken
- primary care organisations adopting best practice in investigating and acting on concerns
In addition there will be new responsibilities for PCTs for handling complaints against GPs.
Learning from Tragedy, Keeping Patients Safe
Learning from Tragedy, Keeping Patients Safe is an overview of the Government’s action programme in response to the recommendations of the Shipman inquiry. This describes action currently underway, or proposed to respond to the challenges raised by the inquiry reports.
Our next steps to support employers
These three documents contain many detailed and complex proposals and there is no doubt that this increased responsibility will present challenges for some organisations in terms of capacity and resource. NHS Employers will start working with employers immediately to support you in putting the appropriate processes in place to support the additional work that these extra duties bring.
We will provide a more detailed briefing paper shortly, to summarise the White Paper and accompanying publications and highlight what impact they will have on you and your workforce.
The three reports foresee differing levels of involvement from all stakeholders and we will ensure that you have an opportunity to participate fully in taking forward proposals to improve the quality and safety of services you and your workforce provide, to improve the quality and safety of care for patients.
Download our briefing explaining the implications for employers. For further information, please contact NHS Employers’ programme lead Sean King at sean.king@nhsemployers or on 0113 3063057.