The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) will be able to conclude fitness to practise (FTP) cases without a full panel hearing, under new regulation reforms put forward by the government.
In its response to a 2017 government consultation on reforming the regulation system for healthcare professionals in the UK, the government said it plans to put forward new legislation that “will enable regulators to resolve FTP cases without the need for a full panel hearing, where it is appropriate to do so”.
The legislation was initially proposed as some regulators, including the General Medical Council, are already able to make decisions on FTP cases “without having to proceed to a full hearing, where there is agreement with the registrant on the findings and measures needed”.
Under the new legislation, all regulatory bodies “will be provided with broadly consistent powers to handle FTP cases in a more responsive and proportionate manner”.
This is expected to enable FTP issues to “be concluded quickly, proportionately and fairly, replacing the current bureaucratic, time consuming processes that are burdensome and can be stressful for patients, their families, registrants and employers”, the government said.
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said he welcomed the changes to legislation as they will ensure “concerns about any health or social care professional will be addressed quickly, consistently and fairly”.
“It is, therefore, important that these legislative changes happen at the same time for all the regulators and at the earliest possible opportunity,” he added.
The health minister Stephen Hammond said that the changes would “allow regulators to dedicate more of their resources to supporting the professionals working in our NHS and contribute to safe, high-quality patient care”.
The UK and devolved governments will now develop secondary legislation to bring the changes into law.