Government Plans to Merge Healthcare Regulators

Ministers could shake-up of healthcare regulation and see bodies such as the NMC, GMC & HCPC merged.

In a controversial consultation nine regulatory bodies could merge into one new amalgamated watchdog covering around a million health professionals including Doctors, Nurses, Dentists and Paramedics.

Currently, the General Medical Council (GMC) regulates 281,000 Doctors and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) performs the same role for about 600,000 Nurses and Midwives. The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and Healthcare & Care Professions Council (HCPC) will also be included in the arrangement.

Ministers claim the move is to make it simpler for complaints about poor care to be made.

Sources at the Department of Health say Jeremy Hunt wants to improve public protection against the possibility of being harmed by poor professional practice and poor performance.

Presently the nine bodies cost about £288m to run but are funded by members from fees so involve no cost to the public purse.

Donna Kinnair, director of nursing at the Royal College of Nursing asks; “Is this the right time to be planning a major overhaul of professional regulation, given the myriad problems facing health and social care?