Medical, nursing and care professionals must be protected against punitive action when they raise concerns about professional standards at their place of work, say MPs in their latest report on the performance and accountability of all four NHS regulators (GMC, NMC,CQC and Monitor).
Launching a follow-up report to the responses given by government and the four regulatory bodies to accountability reports published by the Health Committee in 2011, Chair Stephen Dorrell MP said,
"The effective exercise of professional responsibility is and must remain the bedrock upon which high standards of patient care are built.
We look forward to seeing what the Francis Commission of Inquiry into mid Staffs NHS Foundation Trust concludes shortly, and we fully intend to pursue these matters with all the professional regulators when they appear before us again later this year,"
The Committee also:
- Pledges to examine progress made against the 23 recommendations made in a performance and capability review of the CQC (undertaken by the Department of Health between October 2011 and February 2012).
- Welcomes the GMC's commitment to introduce a system of revalidation for all doctors by late 2012 and warns the regulator that it must give early public notice if it concludes that delivery of this timetable is at risk.
- Endorses the Nursing and Midwifery Council's plan to prioritise the revalidation and fitness to practice procedures for nurses and midwives and warns it will be looking for progress by the time the NMC next appear before the Committee.
- Supports the additional focus on training for healthcare support workers but awaits with keen interest the outcome of a strategic review of the NMC currently being done by the Commission for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence.