Headlines: August 2nd, 2000

The Government has announced its plans for stronger regulation of nurses and other health professionals. Attention has been on the regulation of doctors and consultants following a string of malpractice scandals, but part of the NHS plan promises less cronyism across the health professions.The United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting and the four National Boards, and the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (CPSM) and its twelve uni-professional boards, will all be swept away. The new regulatory body for nursing, midwifery and health visitors will be the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the present CPSM will be replaced by the Health Professions Council (HPC).

The proposals for change aim to make public protection paramount by increasing lay involvement to balance professional interests. The new organisations will have more powers to tackle poor professional conduct and performance, and streamlined procedures to ensure fitness for practice. Consultation about the change will last for three months. Further detail on the NMC proposals is at www.doh.gov.uk/nmconsult1.htm   and for the HPC is at www.doh.gov.uk/hpconsult1.htm