The Department of Health has published the summary of responses from the public consultation on the Health Care Professionals Bill 2014, which will receive its first reading in the House of Keys today (Tuesday).
Health chiefs say the consultation exercise, which ran from November 4 to December 2, saw generally wide backing in the comments submitted as well as helpful and constructive feedback.
Included with the submissions was an online petition signed by more than 400 people supporting the requirement that chiropractors practising in the Isle of Man must, by law, be registered with the General Chiropractic Council.
The Bill, if approved, will bring in a process of revalidation for doctors whereby their fitness to practise will have to be confirmed by the General Medical Council (GMC) once every five years. The move will bring the Island in to line with the UK, which began the revalidation process for doctors at the end of 2012.
The Bill will also confirm the requirement for various health care professionals to be registered with their professional regulatory body in the UK and will add chiropractors and osteopaths practising on the island to the list of professionals who must be registered.
Minister for Health David Anderson MHK said: ‘I would like to thank all of those who took part in the consultation exercise.
‘The feedback was extremely valuable and has resulted in some minor amendments to the Bill.
‘At its heart, this Bill is about improving patient safety and will help to further raise standards, ultimately increasing the level of confidence that the public can have in health care professionals working on the island.’
As doctors practising in the Isle of Man are registered with and regulated by the GMC, failure to bring in equivalent legislation making revalidation mandatory would ultimately result in doctors who practise in the Isle of Man losing their GMC registration.
The GMC has been consulted and is satisfied that the Bill, if approved by Tynwald, will bring the Isle of Man in to line with the revalidation process in the UK.
Member for the Department of Health, Bill Henderson MHK, who is taking the Bill through the House of Keys said: ‘This Bill is a very positive step forward for our community – almost all of us will come in to contact with a health care professional at some stage of our lives.
‘Those with specific problems may also seek treatment from professionals, such as osteopaths and chiropractors, working outside of the NHS.
‘This Bill will strengthen the regulation of health care professionals and for the first time bring those professions under Isle of Man statute and regulation, something I have been working towards for a considerable time.
‘Patients can be re-assured that, as long as the professional who is caring for them is properly registered, they will be getting the best treatment from a well regulated professional and can be more confident of their ultimate treatment outcomes as a result.’
Subject to the approval of the branches of Tynwald it is hoped that the Bill will receive Royal Assent and be enacted by July this year.