The Professional Standards Authority: overseeing the health and social care regulators

Daniel Beech


The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) reviews the fitness-to-practise decisions of all nine health and social care regulators in the UK. In 2016–17, the authority reviewed 4,285 determinations. If the PSA deems a particular decision to be ‘insufficient for the protection of the public’ (previously the test was ‘unduly lenient’), that decision can be referred to the High Court, where it can be reviewed and, if appropriate, overturned. To help illustrate this aspect of the work of the PSA, this report presents the case of a midwife whose fitness to practise had been considered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the statutory regulator of nurses and midwives. The PSA considered that the outcome had been unduly lenient (i.e. it was considered under the earlier test), and the High Court agreed. The matter was remitted back to a differently constituted committee of the NMC, where it was decided that the appropriate outcome was that her name should be removed from the register, thereby effectively ending the career of the midwife.

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