Professional Standards Authority releases two new publications

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The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has published an initial evaluation in response to the Department of Health, as it explores alternatives to statutory regulation.

The evaluation looks at the benefits and limitations of using prohibition order schemes for unregulated health and care workers in the UK.  In a second publication, the PSA looks at whether regulation affects professional identity and patient care.

What is a prohibition order scheme?

Also referred to as a negative registration scheme or a barring scheme, a prohibition order scheme allows individuals to be barred from practising a specified profession, or from carrying out specific activities, through the use of prohibition or barring orders.

To create a scheme, legislation is required to be passed to specify standards of behaviour of a certain occupation or group of occupations. Where a breach of the standards by a practitioner causes harm, or places the public at risk of harm, the relevant investigatory body would issue a prohibition order that may prohibit or restrict the practitioner from providing certain services or carrying out a certain role. Individuals may then be placed on a list as a result of this breach; this enables those who are not fit to practise to be identified by whomever the list is made available to.

What this could mean for employers

Examples of issues that prohibition orders could address include:

  • the difficulty employers have in knowing if a health or care worker is unsafe to practise
  • individuals coming off statutory registers and working as support staff
  • being dismissed by one employer and being able to find employment elsewhere.
Initial evaluation of the feasibility of prohibition order schemes for unregulated health and care workers in the UK provides detailed information on what prohibition order schemes are and looks at them in relation to health and social care. It brings together the key findings, along with a conclusion that there may be a need for these schemes in the regulatory framework, where there is a clear need. This is in line with the PSA's 'right touch approach' and an alternative to statutory regulation. 

Professional identity and regulation

In a second publication, the PSA has reviewed whether regulation affects professional identity and the impact this can have on patient care. The review demonstrates that strong professional identity can increase a professional's valuation of their role, which leads to personal and patient benefits. The PSA hopes the review will be useful to regulators when thinking about the role of regulation in supporting professionalism and patients. Find out more in Professional identities and regulation - a literature review.

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