A single Act of Parliament will now provide one legal framework for all regulated healthcare professionals following the government’s decision to pass the regulation of health and social care professionals bill proposed by the Law Commission.
The regulation has been warmly received by the General Pharmaceutical Society (GPhC).
Under the legal framework, regulators will have more power to make or amend rules on registration, renewals and education.
Grounds for fitness to practise are to be changed to include reasons such as disgraceful misconduct, convictions or cautions and deficient professional performance.
The bill was introduced to Parliament to create a “clear, modern and effective” legal framework for the regulation of health and social care professionals.
The 10 healthcare bodies affected by this new Bill, which include the GPhC, the General Medical Council (GMC), and General Optical Council (GOC), are responsible for 32 professions in the UK – almost 1.5m professionals.
Law commissioner for public law in England and Wales, Nicholas Paines QC, said: “The framework for promoting high standards of professional practice and behaviour, and holding health and social care professionals accountable needs to be updated and made future-proof.
Chief executive of the GPhC, Duncan Rudkin, said: “We have always been clear the interest of patients at the public should sit at the heart of any legitimate reform, along with the ability for regulators to adapt and provide flexible, responsive system that as well as protecting public safety, promote high standard in practice.
“We strongly believe in the the need for joint working across healthcare regulation.”
The process for this new regulation change begun in 2012, with a consultation of more than 100 proposals.
In April 2014, the draft bill was put before Parliament with the bill accepted yesterday, 29 January 2015.