Observations Body Politic

They’re digging up the trees they’ve just planted

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39556.604572.94 (Published 24 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:919
  1. Nigel Hawkes, health editor, the Times
  1. nigel.hawkes{at}thetimes.co.uk

The latest reform of healthcare regulation risks adding nothing and seems no more than politics driven by whim

The United Kingdom now has so many regulators that it has acquired a regulator to regulate them: the Better Regulation Executive. “Got an idea on how to improve regulation?” its website asks (www.betterregulation.gov.uk). “Then help us by using our ideas section below and tell us how we can make life easier for you. Even the smallest ideas can make a big difference.”

Here’s my small idea, which has absolutely no chance of being adopted. Abandon the Health and Social Care Bill that is now trudging its way through parliament, with its misguided attempt to create a “super-regulator,” the Care Quality Commission, to oversee health and social care. This body will combine the Healthcare Commission, the Commission on Social Care Inspection, and the Mental Health Act Commission.

Since November 1999 the NHS has had three health regulators in quick succession: the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI), the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI), and the Healthcare Commission. That’s already far too many, too quickly; and if you have the energy to …

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