Healthcare is a topic that we interact with at various points during our lives. You could be visiting your GP about a suspected illness or heading to A&E following an accident where you’ve suffered a serious injury. Regardless, you expect that the correct level of care has been issued by your healthcare provider. Otherwise, in severe cases, injuries and illnesses could worsen and manifest into long-term impacts that could be life-changing.
Behind the scenes, regulatory bodies are key to upholding these standards. Ongoing assessments and evaluations are an important part of ensuring the nation’s healthcare services are delivering the support they should be.
Regulatory Bodies in the UK
There are numerous regulatory bodies that oversee healthcare in the UK. Some integral examples include the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the General Medical Council (GMC). The former regulates all health and social care services in England, while the latter investigates and acts on concerns about doctors.
The roles and responsibilities of such bodies include upholding the standards that healthcare providers need to meet. This way, those working in this sector will follow their duty of care and provide the level of service expected of them.
Healthcare Quality and Safety Standards
In the UKThe Care Quality Commission (CQC) is responsible for regulating the safety and quality of care provided by healthcare providers. There are specific quality and safety standards that healthcare providers must meet. They’re designed to hold these individuals accountable to make sure that patient safety is always prioritised. They’re also used to ensure that high-quality care is delivered and that the surrounding environment is sufficient in order to do this. These standards will span every area, from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to acute kidney injury.
Inspection and Evaluation Processes
It’s common practice for regulatory bodies to conduct inspection and evaluation processes to make sure that the standards set out are being met. These assessments allow for feedback and consequent action if an area requires improvement. Not only will individual healthcare professionals be assessed, but equipment and facilities will also be looked at, depending on which regulatory body is performing the assessments.
Monitoring Private Healthcare Providers
The regulatory bodies not only oversee public healthcare services but also play a significant role in monitoring private healthcare services. The regulatory bodies work to ensure that both public and private healthcare facilities follow the same standards regarding the safety and quality of healthcare services. This means that the quality, safety, and professionalism of the healthcare services should be the same in both areas. The regulatory bodies in the UK also monitor the quality and safety of mental health services, from outpatient counselling to inpatient psychiatric care.
Legal Framework and Accountability
Legal frameworksare used to help maintain the standards set out. These measures contribute to patient protection and the prevention of malpractice or poor treatment.
If a patient hasn’t received the level of service required, through misdiagnosis or medical negligence, they may be eligible to make a claim. In these instances, a successful no win no fee medical negligence claim, for example, could result in a patient being awarded compensation for the suffering they have experienced. Regulatory bodies aim to reduce cases of insufficient care or malpractice – which will therefore reduce the number of claims that may be made. As a result, the role of these bodies shouldn’t be undermined.