Magazine article Public Finance

'Light Touch' Is Not Right for NHS, Says Donaldson

Magazine article Public Finance

'Light Touch' Is Not Right for NHS, Says Donaldson

Article excerpt

The chief medical officer has complained about ideological badgering of his department by the Cabinet Office's Better Regulation Taskforce.

Sir Liam Donaldson told Public Finance that while the taskforce's preferred 'light touch' regulation might make sense in the commercial sector, the public was often shocked to learn that surgeons and GPs were not routinely assessed and were only weakly regulated.

His comments followed fresh concerns about safety in NHS and private health facilities.

'We are constantly badgered by Better Regulation Taskforce types with any new initiative as to whether it puts any additional "burden" on the NHS; Donaldson told PF.

'But if you want a few "risk-takers" in the NHS, what exactly will they be doing? This is muddled thinking. The balance between risk and regulation has to be thought of in a different way from the commercial sector.'

Donaldson had been addressing a King's Fund seminar on improving the regulation of health care professionals.

He said the current situation, in which doctors once trained could continue practising for more than 30 years without being reassessed, had to end. Over the same period, an airline pilot would be assessed 100 times.

The DoH is consulting on regulatory changes that would involve routine revalidation for all doctors and judging misconduct against the civil, rather than criminal, standard of proof. …

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