Our future regulatory framework starts to take shape following the latest round of public consultation

19 December, 2023

Government proposals to provide the General Medical Council (GMC) with the necessary powers to regulate aesthesia associates and physician associates have now been presented to parliament, following a public consultation held at the start of this year. 

The Department of Health and Social Care presented the proposals as a template for future reform for all healthcare professional regulators, including the GDC. We have engaged to ensure that the developing framework will provide us with the flexible regulatory framework we need, and encouraged our stakeholders to do the same. 

The template for reform is now starting to take shape, but more work is needed to develop a framework that will work for all healthcare professional regulators. 

The proposed template does not yet provide an indication of the approach to issues that are specific to dentistry, and more thought is needed on proposed legislation that will assure regulators that professionals continue to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. We are also still awaiting proposed legislation for the governance and operating framework. We continue to engage with policy makers on these issues, and advise on where the template will need to be adapted to ensure public protection in dentistry is maintained. 

The timetable for future reforms remains uncertain following this round of consultation. We need legislative reform to deliver our functions more effectively and with greater efficiency. We will continue to press for regulatory reform to accelerate, with the support of our stakeholders. 

In the meantime, we will continue to make improvements where we can within our legislative constraints, and are working with our stakeholders to deliver these improvements. 

The consultation outcome report is now available. The GMC will have 12 months to bring aesthesia associates and physician associates into regulation once the legislation is approved and takes effect. We expect to see further proposals for changes to GMC legislation next year, and hope that these will provide further clarity on the framework and the overall timetable for reform. 

Find out more about regulatory reform at the GDC.