Westminster Health Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

The future of professional healthcare regulation reform - efficiency, scope, safety, and the impact of the pandemic on the future regulatory landscape


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference focuses on the next steps for professional healthcare regulation, as the Department of Health and Social Care consults on proposals for reforming and modernising the framework.

Delegates will discuss proposals in the Government’s Health and Social Care White Paper for new powers around professional regulation, and the themes surrounding the DHSC Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public consultation - such as:

  • the possible removal of professions from regulation
  • opening up options for streamlining and reducing regulatory duplication
  • inclusion of senior managers and leaders within the scope of future regulation
  • introducing flexibility into the governance framework to support changing needs
  • understanding the priorities for education and training, and improving patient safety

The conference will look at these proposals, and wider measures that can be taken to tackle inefficiencies in the regulatory system, as well as priorities for reform in the context of the regulatory response to the pandemic.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote contributions from: Professor Tim Briggs, Chair, GIRFT and National Director for Clinical Improvement, NHS England; Alan Clamp, Chief Executive, Professional Standards Authority; Professor Sheona MacLeod, Deputy Medical Director for Education Reform, Health Education England; and Charlie Massey, Chief Executive, General Medical Council.

Key areas for discussion:

  • priorities for regulatory system reform - achieving the efficiencies and adaptability required, and its wider role in Government efforts to improve efficiency and integration within health and care
  • assessing how regulation responded to the pandemic - the key lessons learned, and how the pandemic has shaped the future regulatory landscape
  • how regulatory processes can keep pace with developments and challenges around the workforce, wellbeing, patient safety, education and training, and leadership accountability

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials - including those who have already booked on to attend from the Care Quality Commission; the DHSC; the Department of Health, NI; the Department of Health (ROI); the HSE; the MHRA; BEIS; the DWP; the Government Legal Department; The Scottish Government; and the States of Guernsey.

The agenda

  • The regulatory approach through the pandemic and priorities for reform going forward
  • Implementing reform with safety as the key regulatory priority - addressing bureaucracy, streamlining processes, and fostering collaboration
  • The role of education and training in promoting professionalism in healthcare
  • Developing a patient safety learning culture - priorities for professional regulation
  • Reform implementation in the context of COVID-19 recovery - workforce support and wellbeing, learning from mistakes, addressing indemnity costs, and tackling inequality in referrals
  • How COVID-19 has shaped the regulatory landscape and next steps for delivering an efficient regulatory system

The discussion in detail:

Regulatory system reform:

  • the Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public consultation:
    • latest thinking on the proposals for modernising the professional healthcare regulatory landscape, in the four key areas of:
      • governance and operating framework
      • education and training
      • registration
      • fitness to practise
    • the potential impact of proposed reform in adding flexibility to the system, and enabling it to react to future developments and ensure patient safety
    • whether the proposed approach to regulation going forward goes far enough, and supports the modernisation that is required
    • looking ahead to the future landscape of regulation following this consultation
  • improving fitness to practise:
    • ways of streamlining the complaint process for regulators
    • options for a less adversarial approach to dispute handling, and for taking a more risk-based approach
    • ensuring emphasis remains on protecting the public from unfit professionals
    • priorities for safeguarding against a bias against ethnic minority staff in referrals, with the GMC highlighting the need for measures and targets
  • bureaucracy and efficiency:
    • identifying areas of excess bureaucracy, and encouraging agility and flexibility in the system
    • assessing what a new regulatory system looks like that achieves efficiencies and can be responsive to any changes in healthcare going forward
  • collaboration and the future landscape:
    • priorities for fostering collaboration between regulators and the wider system
    • addressing confusion around the number of regulatory bodies, simplifying and removing inefficiencies, and improving understanding

New powers - including the impact of proposals in the Future of Health and Care white paper, such as:

  • deregulation - the removal of professions from regulation, and restrictions around the delegation of functions
  • regulatory consolidation - abolishing a regulator and improving regulation around managers, with discussion including whether proposed reforms go far enough

Wider policy priorities - and the role of improving professional healthcare regulation as part of wider Government plans to improve efficiency, innovation and integration in the future of health and care

Regulatory response to COVID-19 - what can be learned in areas including:

  • flexibility:
    • how regulation was able to quickly adapt to meet workforce demand, with the introduction of temporary legislation for people who had lapsed registration
    • how changes in timeliness, work pressures and resource implications were accommodated in the system
  • the future of professional healthcare regulation reform:
    • ways that it has been shaped by the pandemic
    • opportunities that have been presented around flexibility and adaptability
    • what the future landscape looks like beyond the COVID-19 pandemic
  • COVID-19-related litigation - looking at the approach of chief medical officers:
    • asking doctors to be flexible during the second wave, as they may have been needed to work on clinical areas outside their specialty
    • reassuring them that the context of COVID-19 will be taken into consideration in complaints procedures
  • indemnity - the role of NHS Resolution’s Clinical Negligence Scheme for Coronavirus in:
    • meeting healthcare arrangements brought about by the pandemic
    • providing additional coverage for those working in COVID-19 healthcare response and the new ways of working required
  • the role of regulators - in responding to the pandemic, and the need for ‘emergency powers’ to improve levels of preparation for future healthcare challenges

Learning culture and patient safety:

  • safety - ways that professional regulation can support improvements in patient safety
  • workforce culture:
    • ensuring its development in such a way that it reports and learns from mistakes to allow for continuous improvement
    • following warnings by the chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of insufficient investigations before referring nurses
  • clinical negligence - how regulatory bodies can be responsive to claims so as to effectively ensure patient safety

Supporting the workforce - looking at the role of regulation, including:

  • enabling the return of retired healthcare workers to the NHS during the pandemic
  • workforce retention
  • provision of wellbeing support through regulatory processes

Education - the role of education and training in:

  • developing professionalism and setting standards
  • supporting recovery from the pandemic, following calls by the chair of the GMC for improved workforce leadership training to treat patient backlog

Regulation of managers:

  • how to evaluate individual and organisational accountability
  • it follows:
    • the NHS Long Term Plan outlining the potential of a professional registration scheme for senior NHS Leaders
    • the head of NHS England recommending stricter regulation

The ethnic minority workforce - what more can be done to offer support, particularly in the context of referrals, and how regulation can better work to underpin fairness and transparency

The context and relevant developments:

  • Integration and innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all - the Government’s white paper, proposing new powers around professional regulation, in areas such as:
    • the removal of professions from regulation - to keep pace with the risk associated with different professions, and if this changes over time, this resulting in regulation no longer being required
    • removing restrictions around the delegation of functions - so that a regulator can act on the behalf of other regulators to help reduce costs and duplication, and support wider efficiencies
    • abolishing a regulator - if the landscape of the relevant profession has changed, or is no longer being regulated, or if its functions are moved into other regulatory bodies
    • the inclusion of senior managers and leaders within the scope of regulation - to allow for the potential of regulation for these groups if required in the future
  • Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public - consultation by the DHSC on proposals to reform healthcare regulation:
    • laying out four key areas for targeted reform: governance and operating framework, education and training, registration, and fitness to practise
    • aiming to modernise the healthcare regulatory system while ensuring patient safety, through reducing complicated legislation, building flexibility into the system and reducing costs
    • developed with professional regulatory bodies, the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care and other stakeholders
  • Busting bureaucracy: empowering frontline staff by reducing excess bureaucracy in the health and care system in England - outlining steps the Government will take following its consultation, including:
    • prioritising proportionate and intelligent regulation as a priority area
    • the announcement of more detailed proposals for reforming the professional regulation framework, which are due to be set out for consultation in early 2021
  • the Professional standards Authority Learning from COVID-19 review - with recommendations on maximising lessons from the pandemic, preparing for the future, and regulatory reform
  • the NHS Long Term Plan:
    • with the commitment to explore a potential professional registration scheme for senior NHS Leaders
    • setting out the importance of NHS staff in the delivery of care and implementation of the plan, with the need to support the workforce
  • NHS Resolution’s Clinical Negligence Scheme for Coronavirus - which provides additional coverage for those working in COVID-19 healthcare response and the new ways of working required
  • We are the NHS: People Plan 2020/21 - action for us all - the publication of the NHS People Plan, which sets out how the NHS will provide support, development, and address challenges
  • NHS Patient Safety Strategy: 2021 update - which shows progress in the development of a safety learning culture within the NHS, and with a key objective from the strategy being to ensure that patient safety understanding is embedded across regulators
  • Fair to Refer? - GMC-commissioned research finding that a lack of employer support and isolation contributed to more referrals for doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds, who are twice as likely to be referred to the Council

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentarians from the House of Commons and officials from BEIS; the Care Quality Commission; the Department of Health, NI; the Department of Health (ROI); the Department of Health and Social Care; the DWP; the Government Legal Department; the Health and Safety Executive; the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency; the States of Guernsey; and The Scottish Government.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Westminster Health Forum seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates