GMC publishes response to the Department of Health and Social Care’s consultation on regulatory reform

A simplified legislative framework proposed by Government to allow more flexible and proportionate medical regulation has been welcomed by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The GMC last week submitted its response to the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) consultation on regulatory reform, which covers proposals for a high-level framework which the nine professional healthcare regulators will adopt if enacted.

"The world in which doctors practise today is fundamentally different but the legal framework governing how they’re regulated has remained largely unchanged. Until now, regulators have tried to work around this, pushing at the boundaries of legislation to make our interventions more responsive. But we’ve reached the limits of what we alone can do. "

Charlie Massey

GMC Chief Executive 

It’s been nearly four decades since the legislation underpinning the GMC’s work was passed, making it outdated and difficult to work with. Under the DHSC’s proposals, the GMC would:

  • be able to register professionals more flexibly;
  • have more powers to resolve fitness to practise cases sooner;
  • be able to develop a fitness to practise process that is less adversarial and supportive to both complainants and registrants;
  • have more powers to monitor education and training providers;
  • have more flexibility to set its own processes, coupled with increased duties of transparency and accountability;
  • regulate Physician Associates and Anaesthesia Associates (MAPs) - making the GMC a multi-profession regulator

Welcoming the proposals, GMC Chief Executive Charlie Massey said:

‘The world in which doctors practise today is fundamentally different but the legal framework governing how they’re regulated has remained largely unchanged. Until now, regulators have tried to work around this, pushing at the boundaries of legislation to make our interventions more responsive.

‘But we’ve reached the limits of what we alone can do. To support both patients and the doctors who treat them, fundamental change is required.’

Following the consultation, DHSC will publish its analysis of responses and will then consult on the revised GMC specific legislation later this Autumn will then consult on how we will implement the new legislation through rules, policies and guidance early next year.

Read our response to Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public  consultation