The Health and Social Care Bill will take some of the necessary first steps towards modernising regulation for healthcare professionals.
Research funded by the Health Foundation shows that the existing regulatory arrangements are an ineffective way of ensuring healthcare quality. The Shipman inquiry and the Ayling, Neale and Kerr/Haslam inquiries all set out recommendations to improve regulation of professionals and to ensure the best care for patients. These recommendations need to be implemented now.
Revalidation for healthcare professionals is an essential part of any modernisation process. For doctors, this would have two components. The first part is a license to practice and the second part, for specialist doctors or GPs, is re-certification with a Royal College or specialist society.
Our research has also found that specialist certification is positively associated with better patient outcomes. Revalidation of professionals appears to work best when it is based on clear and objective standards, with participation from the relevant professional bodies.
Clinical audits are a proven way of making professional activity accountable to patients and the public. We are, therefore, calling for participation in national clinical audits to be made an essential part of recertification of doctors. This would send a clear signal that clinical measurement is critical to understanding an individual's performance and is a core part of professional practice.
The Health Foundation has written to MPs and healthcare professional bodies to support revalidation for healthcare professionals.