We are appalled by the shocking cases of Lucy Letby and Sam Eljamel. Our sympathies are with the patients and families who have experienced such devastating harm, loss and sorrow.
In the wake of the Lucy Letby verdict, NHS England are looking again at whether non-clinical NHS Managers should be regulated. The Patient Safety Commissioner for England has recently stated that she would welcome an Accredited Register of senior leaders in health. We note also that the Kark review made similar recommendations about ensuring consistent standards of competence, as well as transparent and centralised information about Boards and Board directors for the NHS in England. The case of Sam Eljamel in Scotland is raising similar questions about the actions and accountability of managers in the NHS.
We would like to offer our expertise – as we have done recently by writing to NHS England – in exploring options for the way forward. We oversee the 10 statutory regulators in health and social care and are policy experts in regulation. We also manage the government-backed Accredited Registers programme for registers of health-related occupations that are not subject to statutory regulation.
We are eager to support collaborative efforts to address risks to patient safety by working together to find appropriate solutions. We would encourage policy-makers to consider the full range of tools available to manage the risks, which may include reviewing existing mechanisms, or asking whether action is needed to improve their effectiveness, in addition to possible registration and/or regulation models.
We will work with the four UK Governments, NHS bodies and stakeholders UK-wide to understand where the risks and issues lie and to propose solutions to protect the public.
Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social CareContact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to the Editor
- The PSA has published two influential papers on developing regulatory policy, including a tool to guide decisions about whether and how to regulate an occupation: Right-touch regulation and Right-touch assurance
- The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees 10 statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
- We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are insufficient to protect the public and it is in the public interest.
- We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
- We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.
- We do this to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
- Our values are – integrity, transparency, respect, fairness and teamwork – and we strive to ensure that they are at the core of our work.
- More information about our work and the approach we take is available at www.professionalstandards.org.uk