All complaints by patients to new regulator rejected in hearings

42 claims against social workers and five other health professionals turned down

Social workers, dietitians, occupational therapists, radiographers, speech and language therapists, and optometrists and dispensing opticians are all now subject to statutory regulation in the same way as doctors and nurses.

Social workers, dietitians, occupational therapists, radiographers, speech and language therapists, and optometrists and dispensing opticians are all now subject to statutory regulation in the same way as doctors and nurses.

 

Every single complaint by patients against social workers and members of five other health professions was rejected in the first year of official regulation, new figures show.

Social workers, dietitians, occupational therapists, radiographers, speech and language therapists, and optometrists and dispensing opticians are all now subject to statutory regulation in the same way as doctors and nurses. This means they can be investigated for disciplinary offences and may have to appear at fitness-to-practise hearings in public or in private.

However, of the 42 complaints processed during the first year of regulation in 2015, all were rejected, according to Coru, the regulator for health and social care professionals.

All 42 complaints fell at the first hurdle, when a preliminary proceedings committee decided there was no case to answer against the professional and no requirement for a fitness- to-practise hearing.

Minority

“It is important that complaints are fully investigated to ensure due process for both the complainant and the health and social care professional against whom the complaint has been made,” a spokeswoman for Coru said. “This can take some time depending on the nature of the complaint received.”

Still open

Coru is responsible for the regulation of 14 health and social care professions, with up to 30,000 members in total.

Registers have been established for seven professions, including 4,000 social workers and 1,600 radiographers. With time, fitness-to-practise will be extended to other professions, including psychologists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and medical scientists.

Additional professions may be added by Minister for Health Simon Harris who has indicated he plans to bring counsellors and psychotherapists under Coru’s regulatory framework. The Medical Council has been running fitness-to-practise hearings for doctors since 2009 and hearings at the Nursing and Midwifery Board began last year.