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Jeremy Hunt to Consider Merging Health Regulation Bodies

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt is preparing to launch a consultation documents that could lead to medical professions no longer having their own dedicated regulators.

Later this year, the Department of Health will launch a consultation which will look at the potential of merging the existing nine health regulators into a single body.

This would mean that over one million healthcare staff would be supervised by the same regulator, which could potentially result in changes to fees, standards and fitness to practise.

The Director of nursing at the Royal College of Nursing, Donna Kinnair said that the new proposals raise a huge number of questions that will need addressing before any regulatory changes are made.

The consultation paper will set out a range of options including:

  • Bringing some of the nine together
  • Merging all nine bodies into one new overarching health regulator
  • Leaving the nine as separate entities but working more closely together.

According to the Department of Health sources, the Health Secretary has no preferred plan. The sources said that the Health Secretary wants to advance public protection against the probability of being harmed by poor professional practice and make sure that worries about the poor performance of health professionals is dealt with quickly and appropriately.

The Director of policy at the Nuffield Trust health thinktank, Candace Imison said the regulatory separation can impose professional separation, and create a difficult situation over who is in charge as new roles develop.

However there needs to be sufficient time and effort to get this new organisation right, which the National Health Service has not always managed in the past, she added.

The cost of running nine separate regulatory bodies costs £288 million, however they are run with self-funding from fees to registrants.

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