It’s that time of year when I look forward with a mixture of hope, slight anxiety, and a touch of superstition. A dear friend, now deceased, believed fervently that ‘even years are good years’. And if past behaviour is any sort of predictor of future, I’m certain it will be.
Despite a past year full of global difficulties, many people have behaved in the most positive and extraordinary ways. They have modelled courage, selflessness, compassion, kindness, patience, and skill.
I’m sure we can all call to mind people who have impressed us. For me, it’s Eugene Goodman, Txai Surui, Marcus Rashford, and my carer friend who has spent her working life supporting, and championing people with learning disabilities so that they might have better lives. Like hundreds of thousands of health and care professionals who have cared for us this past year, these are people who have standards and who believe in living by them.
If Omicron predictions prove right, health and care professionals will have a demanding start to their year and may find themselves having to improvise and be creative. Last year, the regulators we oversee put out a message of reassurance to their registrants that they would remember and take account of the hard circumstances in which they were working (and reiterated that message in December 2021). We support that message. We will take these hard times into account.
The year ahead promises to bring long awaited reforms to professional regulation. Reforms to the General Medical Council’s legislation (hopefully to be followed swiftly by reforms to that of the other eight) gives us a real opportunity to reshape regulation in a better, more agile way.
Our own work will focus on tackling other areas where improvement is still needed: bridging regulatory gaps, managing risks around new, emerging and changing roles as the future workforce is forged. And carrying on with our everyday work to protect the public.
We wish you all a safe, happy, and productive year as we strive to make it the best of times.