MSPs discuss how health and social care professional regulators protect patients and the public


MSPs were able to find out more about how over 170,000 registered health and social care professionals in Scotland are regulated, and how this protects patients and the public, at an event held in the Scottish Parliament on 14 November.


The event was hosted by Duncan McNeil MSP (pictured centre), the Convener of the Health and Sport Committee and was jointly organised by the six largest health and care professional regulators working in Scotland; the General Dental Council, the General Medical Council, the General Pharmaceutical Council, the Health and Care Professions Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Scottish Social Services Council.


Duncan McNeil gave an opening address, in which he outlined the current work of the Health and Sport Committee, highlighting where professional regulation has a particular contribution to make.


Lynsey Cleland, the Director for Scotland at the General Pharmaceutical Council (pictured third from left), talked about the role of the professional regulators and how they are working to ensure they regulate in a way that takes account of the ongoing developments in health and social care in Scotland. Lynsey emphasised that Scotland’s approach to health and social services focuses on person centred care and that the role of the regulators is to protect everyone who uses these services.


Representatives from all of the organisations involved were on hand to answer questions from MSPs and their researchers about how health and social care regulation works in Scotland, and how the regulators work with employers and other organisations which also have a role to play in safeguarding patients and the public. They explained how the regulators set the standards for good practice and for education and training, and make sure that only professionals who are fit to practise can be on the register and work in Scotland.


The event also gave MSPs and their staff an opportunity to fully explore the way that the delivery of health and social care is changing and how professional regulation fits in with the changes taking place in Scotland. Most health professional regulation policy is reserved to Westminster, while care professional regulation is devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Issues of particular interest to MSPs and MSP researchers included how health and social care professionals can be encouraged to raise concerns about poor care, and how to support constituents who wish to make a complaint about a health or social care professional.


Commenting on the event, Duncan McNeil said:


“Patients across Scotland have the right to expect good standards of care from the health and social care professionals they meet.  The regulators represented here have a crucial role to play in making sure this happens, and as MSPs it is important that we understand their role, and how they are regulating in a way that works well for Scotland.”