The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership

Managers back professional regulation

The issue of whether senior NHS managers should be regulated like doctors or nurses has been an ongoing debate since the Mid Staffs public inquiry and the creation of the universally disliked fit and proper person test regulations.

The regulations are now being reviewed by Tom Kark QC and ahead of giving evidence the Managers in Partnership Union conducted a survey of senior directors affected by the fit and proper person test.

In what may be a surprise finding, more than 90 per cent backed the idea of professional regulation for NHS managers. MiP chief executive Jon Restell told HSJ the union will not be advocating for or against formal regulation, but in his list of necessary changes to the fit and proper person test, Mr Restell comes close to spelling out the key ingredients for a formal regulatory process.

Wherever you sit on the debate, it does now look like the fudge that is the fit and proper person test will be reformed. Mr Kark’s report is expected in a few months.

Barriers to recruiting international staff

The news that the Home Office planned to scrap the tier 2 visa cap for international doctors was welcomed across the board when it was announced in June.

However, even with this restriction lifted, it appears workers wanting to learn and practise in the UK are still encountering red tape.

A medical educator who has recently signed a deal with Health Education England enabling students from Grenada to complete their training in the UK has warned that the NHS needs to “reduce barriers” that prevent the recruitment of international doctors.

Richard Olds, president of St George’s University, said recruiting doctors from international medical schools is a good intermediate solution but urged the UK to develop a long term solution if it wants to ease its workforce crisis.

Matt Hancock’s letter to the NHS has even classed the removal of the tier 2 cap as “preparatory action” the government has undertaken in the case of a no-deal Brexit. If the UK is going to increasingly rely on international workforce, the barriers Dr Olds warned about need to be broken down sooner rather than later.