Doctors should not fund the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) through annual registration fees paid to the General Medical Council (GMC), the Medical Defence Union (MDU) has said.
The MDU made the comments in response to a Department of Health consultation on the funding of the PSA, the body which oversees the health profession’s regulators. The PSA reviews decisions made by fitness to practise panels and can refer them to court if they feel they are unduly lenient and do not protect the public.
At the moment, the PSA (formerly known as the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence or CHRE) is government funded, but the proposal is for it to be funded from a compulsory levy placed on the healthcare regulatory bodies it oversees. The MDU is concerned that this would drive up the annual registration fees paid by doctors, dentists and nurses to their regulators, which would be an unfair burden in the current economic climate.
Catherine Wills, deputy head of advisory services at the MDU, said: “We think the Department of Health should reconsider the proposal that the PSA will be self-funding because we think healthcare professionals will end up paying for it via their annual registration fees. We believe it would be possible to provide the same degree of patient protection without the need for the PSA. For example, it would be more cost-effective to provide the healthcare regulators with powers to appeal decisions taken by fitness to practise panels. The GMC is soon to be given this power and so could the other healthcare regulators.
“In the current economic climate, we think it is unfair to expect doctors to pay for the PSA, especially since they have no means of holding it accountable.”