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New regulation for health care professionals and social workers

2 March 2012

The Law Commission has this week issued a consultation paper detailing proposals for reforming the regulation of health care professionals and social workers.

Amongst the proposals, is the harmonisation of sanctions where a professional’s fitness to practice is impaired. At present, the range of sanctions differs across the various regulators. Going forward, it’s intended that all regulators will have the following powers:

• erasure from the register;
• suspension;
• conditions; and
• warnings.

The use of financial penalties and costs awards remains a contentious sanction but is nevertheless being considered across the board.

Whilst the reform is intended to promote clarity, it’s apparent from the paper that regulators will also have greater autonomy, depending on the circumstances and their resources. It remains to be seen, therefore, whether or not reform is necessary.

A full copy of the consultation paper can be found at the website below, including details on how you can respond – the consultation will run until 31 May 2012.

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