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“The health professional regulators submitted a report to the Department in 2015. This report outlined a number of options in relation to the disciplinary structure for healthcare professionals,” a Department spokesperson told MI.
Three “options” were outlined in the submission, stated the Department. The first was to amend legislation relating to the healthcare professions to eliminate differences; the second involved introducing a single legislative code; and the third was to establish a common fitness to practise tribunal.
“The Department, in follow-up discussions with the regulators, welcomed the report and the work undertaken. However, it was also conveyed at that time that given the competing priorities of the Department’s extensive legislative programme, the matter could not be progressed.”
The spokesperson continued: “The Department’s current legislative priorities in terms of the health regulatory Acts are to fully implement the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005, including the drafting of amendments to this Act; the drafting of a Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which will amend all the health professional regulatory Acts as a consequence of the transposition of the professional qualifications directive and other amendments, including appeals of minor sanctions; and the development of new dental legislation.”
A Medical Council spokesperson said discussions took place with the Department regarding a more formal co-operative structure, of which the Council was a part, but these talks were one aspect of a wider discussion on legislative and regulatory reform.
The Council is “committed to operating within our remit and continuing to serve our members”.