professional discipline/healthcare regulatory news february – march 2016

  • 1.A round-table discussion at the General Pharmaceutical Council relating to pre-registration pharmacist education and training in England took place on 3 February 2016. Details of this meeting were published on 26 February 2016 and shows that the GPhC are currently looking at ways in which the training and education of our pre-registration pharmacists can be improved in England through the analysis of available data relating to the pre-registration year and the consideration of what can be learnt from the management of the training years of other health professionals and the assessment of those health professionals.
  • 2.The Secretary of State for Health has announced new safety measures for patients and plans to improve this further along with increasing transparency within the NHS in line with the much-talked about “Duty of Candour”. The Nursing and Midwfery Council (“NMC”) responded to this on 9 March 2016 and stated that it welcomes the proposed improvements and that it would look closely at how these will be implemented in practice.
  • 3.On 17 February 2016 the Health and Care Professions Council (“HCPC”) published a report on how it’s own model has affected the training of Approved Mental Health Professionals in England between 2013 and 2014 and between 2014 and 2015, following the transfer of regulation from the General Social Care Council to the HCPC. The HCPC states that all issues have now been addressed and conditions met for approved AMHP programmes.
  • 4.On 8 March 2016 the HCPC began a new consultation about the use of exemptions by orthoptists to sell, supply and administer medicine. This consultation is set to last until 3 May 2016 and the proposals in the consultation relate to the HCPC setting standards for the use of exemptions by orthoptists, the HCPC amending the register to show those orthoptists who are qualified to use the exemptions and for the HCPC to approve post-registration training programmes.
  • 5.On 9 March 2016 the General Medical Council (“GMC”) commissioned a review of the relatively new revalidation procedures. This review will look at evidence of the impact and operation of revalidation and see how it can be improved. This is due to be published in late 2016.
  • 6.On 16 March 2016 it was announced by the GMC that it has made changes to the PLAB test after commissioning an independent review which set out recommendations in this area. The new test will begin as of September 2016 and is set to be more rigorous and more reflective of real-life situations in the UK. From September 2016, there will be new questions and practical scenarios to assess candidates’ professionalism and understanding of ethics as well as clinical knowledge and skills. There will also be a fully revised practical assessment, including more and longer scenarios, testing doctors in more realistic mock consultation settings. There will also be more feedback for doctors on their PLAB test performance.
  • As of September 2017, there will also be a limit of two years in which doctors will be able to apply for a licence to practise in the UK once they have passed the PLAB test. Doctors will only be able to take the written and practical exam four times if they are unsuccessful. The regulations change in September 2016 so any attempts taken between September 2016 and September 2017 will count towards the maximum four attempts.