Regulation of health care professionals


Patrick Layden, QC, TD

Team Member 

Ewan McCaig, Legal Assistant

Our joint Report on the Regulation of Health Care Professionals (LC 345 / SLC 237 / NILC 18 (2014)) has been published (2nd April 2014). The Report includes a draft Bill which, if implemented, would give effect to the recommendations of the Report. This is the first tripartite project undertaken by the Scottish Law Commission along with the Law Commission for England and Wales and the Northern Ireland Law Commission. The project follows a reference from the Department of Health.

The present regulatory framework in this area has become complex and the aim of this project was to review the framework with a view to modernising and simplifying the existing law and procedures. The final report and draft Bill sets out a new single legal framework for the regulation of all health care professionals and social care professionals in England. The reforms aim to sweep away the out-dated and inflexible decision-making processes associated with the current legislation. The Bill would introduce a clear and consistent legal framework which is needed to enable the regulators to uphold their duty to protect the public.

A joint press release is also available alongside the following supporting documents:

Summary of the Report

Impact Assessment

Equality Impact Assessment

Our joint consultation paper Regulation of Health Care Professionals; Regulation of Social Care Professionals in England (Discussion Paper 153), was published on 1 March 2012.  A separate summary and  impact assessment are also available.

Government response

On 29 January 2015, the Government accepted our recommendations that there should be:

  • a single, overarching objective of public protection placed on each regulator
  • wider powers and greater flexibility for the regulators to investigate and dispose of cases
  • greater consistency in the conduct of fitness to practise panels
  • greater separation between the regulators' investigation and adjudication functions
  • an overarching duty on the regulators to ensure the ongoing fitness to practice of registrants, and
  • greater flexibility in how the regulators oversee medical schools and other forms of education.

The Government made the announcement by Written Ministerial Statement from Dr Daniel Poulter MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, and has committed to legislate, when parliamentary time allows, to implement these reforms.

See the Government response here.

See the Government consultation in November 2017 here.

For more information, please contact: