The BMA (British Medical Association) is the professional organisation representing doctors in all branches of medicine in the UK. The Ethics section of its site (to be found via the “Employment and career advice” tab) has various BMA reports, guidelines, discussion papers and other publications concerning medical law and ethics.
The BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) is an editorially independent journal published weekly by a subsidiary of the British Medical Association (BMA). Its web site provides abstracts and full text of all articles since publication began (1840), searchable by author, word(s) in title or abstract, or word(s) anywhere in article. Not all content is free: access to some material, particularly the more recent, is restricted to subscribers.
This site provides free basic information on social and health care law and practice in the UK. Its “Care and Health Law database” includes full text of relevant legislation, case digests and articles. For those requiring in-depth analysis there is also a subscription option. The site, produced by solicitor and former barrister Belinda Schwehr, is updated weekly.
CSSIW is the body responsible for regulating and inspecting establishments and agencies which provide social care services in Wales. Links to legislation are provided in the section “What we do”, under the “About us” tab. Other sections have inspectorate reports, annual reports, newsletters, information leaflets, and details of the complaint procedure.
Care Inspectorate is the day to day working name of the body whose formal name is Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS). It regulates and inspects social care, social work and child protection services in Scotland. Documentation on the site includes guidance, inspection reports, and documents relating to inspection, complaints and enforcement. Extensive links to legislation are provided via “Knowledge” within its linked microsite “The Hub”.
The Care Quality Commission regulates all health and adult social care in England, and protects the rights of people detained under the Mental Health Act. Established under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, it replaced the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission on 1 April 2009. The site provides background information, consultations, guidance and other documents, including key publications of the bodies it replaced.
The First-tier Tribunal (Care Standards) hears appeals under the legislation relating to the care of children and vulnerable adults in England and Wales. It was originally established under the Protection of Children Act 1999 as the Protection of Children Act Tribunal, and has since 3 November 2008 formed part of the First-tier Tribunal’s Health, Education and Social Care Chamber. This page of the GOV.UK web site has background information about the Tribunal and its jurisdiction; links to relevant legislation; guidance on the appeals process and procedures; forms; and links to published decisions (including those of its predecessor the Registered Homes Tribunal) on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary web site.
The Care Tribunal was established under the Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 to hear appeals against decisions relating to the regulation of care services and to the employment and registration of social workers in Northern Ireland. Information on its web site includes a guide to the appeals process and procedures, links to legislation, and published decisions to date.
The Department of Health is responsible for government policy on health, adult social care and the National Health Service in England. (In the rest of the UK these responsibilities fall to the devolved governments.) This section of the GOV.UK web site provides information on the department’s activities, policies, publications, announcements, consultations and statistics. Publications include recent letters and Local Authority Circulars: for older ones it may be necessary to search in the old Department of Health web site, which was last archived in February 2013 by the National Archives’ UK Government Web Archive.
Published by the Department for Education on the GOV.UK web site, this report concerns a very serious assault which occurred at Edlington in 2009. The victims of the assault were two boys aged 11 and 9 years who did not know their attackers. The assault was perpetrated by two brothers aged 11 and 10 years. NB this version of the report is redacted, i.e. personal names and other sensitive information (occasionally extended passages) are blanked out.
The General Chiropractic Council (GCC) regulates chiropractors throughout the UK. The site’s Publications section has annual reports, fitness to practise reports (which include case summaries), newsletters, press releases, standards, and the full text of the Chiropractors Act 1994 and related subsidiary legislation.
The General Dental Council (GDC) regulates all dental professionals in the UK. The Dentists Register and Rolls of Dental Auxiliaries are searchable on its web site. Also on the site are “Standards for the Dental Team” and other guidance documents; the GDC’s various Rules; information on complaints procedures; and details of outcomes of recent hearings of the Professional Conduct Committee.
The General Medical Council (GMC) registers doctors to practise medicine in the UK. The List of Registered Medical Practitioners, a register of doctors who are eligible to work in general practice in the health service in the UK, may be searched on its site. It includes any publicly available fitness to practise history since 20 October 2005. Relevant legislation, including a consolidated version with amendments of the Medical Act 1983, is to be found in the “About us” section. The “Good Medical Practice” section includes the document of that name with related guidance, and archived ethical guidance going back to 1963.
The General Optical Council (GOC) regulates dispensing opticians and optometrists and those bodies corporate carrying on business as optometrists or dispensing opticians in the UK. Its Register is searchable online. A Legislation section within “About Us” has the Opticians Act 1989 and rules and regulations made under that Act. Other content includes codes of conduct (under Standards) and decisions in fitness to practise hearings of the last twelve months (under Complaints).
The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) regulates the profession of osteopathy and maintains the statutory register of osteopaths in the UK. The register is searchable online. Other site content includes the Osteopaths Act 1993 and secondary legislation; the current code of practice and other guidance; information on the complaint procedure and recent findings; and recent annual fitness to practise reports.
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has been the regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in England, Scotland and Wales since 27 September 2010. Its web site includes information, standards, guidance and links to legislation. There are searchable online registers of pharmacies, training premises, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The section “Raising concerns” includes determinations in fitness to practise hearings.
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) currently regulates members of sixteen professions in the UK, including chiropodists, dietitians, paramedics, physiotherapists, radiographers, social workers in England, and practitioner psychologists. It was originally established under the Health Professions Order 2001 as the Health Professions Council, changing its name on 1 August 2012 when responsibility for social workers in England was transferred from the defunct General Social Care Council. The Legislation section (under About Us) has relevant Orders and Rules either as originally made or in unofficial consolidated versions. Other content includes guidance, standards, consultations and annual reports. There is a searchable online Register, and a link to the separate web site of the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service, its fitness to practise adjudication service.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a non-departmental public body responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare in England, Wales and Scotland. The site’s Legislation section, found on the “About HSE” tab under “HSE’s work”, includes lists of relevant Acts and Statutory Instruments, with links to full text on the Legislation.gov.uk web site. The Enforcement section, also under “HSE’s work”, has searchable databases of enforcement notices issued by HSE and of successful convictions obtained from HSE prosecutions. Other content includes consultations 2000 onwards, guidance, codes of practice, annual reports 2001/02 onwards, leaflets, newsletters, and press releases.
The responsibilities of Healthcare Improvement Scotland include the inspection and regulation of independent healthcare services in Scotland, including hospitals, hospices and clinics. Select “Inspecting and regulating care” via the Scrutiny tab to access relevant information, guidance and inspection reports.
The Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) is the independent inspectorate and regulator of all healthcare in Wales. Publications include healthcare standards and the text of all reviews and investigations which HIW undertakes. The site includes some links to legislation.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was created in 1991, under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, to regulate safe and appropriate practice in fertility treatment and human embryo research. Its Code of Practice, Directions and other guidance documents are to be found in the section “For Clinic Staff and Other Professionals”. Documents elsewhere include annual reports, research reports, news items and press releases.
The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) was set up under the Human Tissue Act 2004 to regulate the removal, storage, use and disposal of human bodies, organs and tissue from the living and deceased. Site content includes a section devoted to legislation, policies and codes of practice, with links to the Human Tissue Act 2004 and regulations made under it, and to the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006. Publications include annual reports, leaflets, and a regular e-newsletter.
The Kerr/Haslam inquiry was concerned with the sexual abuse of psychiatric patients. Chaired by Nigel Pleming QC, it inquired into how NHS services in Yorkshire dealt with concerns raised about two consultant psychiatrists, Dr William Kerr and Mr Michael Haslam. The full report of the inquiry, published 18 July 2005, is accessible here on the GOV.UK web site.
This online resource for medical negligence law and related subjects was founded (originally as Medical Litigation Online) by the late Geoffrey Hall, a barrister, in 1998. Several sections, including databases of over 2000 cases and over 240 articles, are available only to subscribers. The News section (January 1999 onwards) can be viewed for free, but note that no further content has been added to any part of the site since July 2014.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) is responsible for adjudication upon doctors’ fitness to practise in the UK. It was launched on 11 June 2012 and is operationally separate from the body which was responsible before that date, the General Medical Council (GMC). Its web site provides information on its role and procedures, including links to the legislation that governs its work. The Decisions section has various guidance documents and details of rights to appeal, besides texts of recent decisions.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is an executive agency of the Department of Health, formed in 2003 from a merger of the Medical Devices Agency and the Medicines Control Agency. Its section of the GOV.UK web site contains information, news and documents relating to the regulation of medicines and medical devices in the UK.
An independent inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis QC, into care provided by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between January 2005 and March 2009 was announced in July 2009 and produced its report on 24 February 2010. The report is available for download either from the GOV.UK web site or from this page of the former Department of Health web site, archived in the UK Government Web Archive. The latter source includes some additional background information and documents.
Following an earlier independent inquiry into the provision of care by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust (the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Inquiry) this was a full public inquiry into the role of the commissioning, supervisory and regulatory bodies in the monitoring of that NHS Trust. It was announced in June 2010 and chaired by Robert Francis QC. Its official web site, now archived, includes FAQs; terms of reference and other key documents; transcripts of hearings; evidence; and the final report, published 6 February 2013.
Monitor was established on 5 January 2004 with responsibility for authorising, monitoring and regulating NHS foundation trusts. On 1 April 2013 it took on additional duties as the sector regulator for health services in England, responsible for protecting and promoting the interests of patients, and with concurrent powers alongside the Competition and Markets Authority to enforce competition law in respect of the provision of healthcare services in England. This section of the GOV.UK web site includes information on Monitor’s role and responsibilities. Content here will in due course be incorporated into the separate website of NHS Improvement, of which Monitor has been a part since 1 April 2016.
The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA), a Special Health Authority, is responsible for handling negligence claims made against NHS bodies in England. It also monitors human rights case law on behalf of the NHS. Publications on the site include a Human Rights Act Information Service Newsletter. There is also information on the dispute resolution work of the FHS Appeal Unit (FHSAU), with details of cases decided in the last few years.
The Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC) is the body responsible for regulating and registering the social care workforce in Northern Ireland. Its register is searchable online. Other content includes codes of practice, the Conduct Rules, consultations, and a “Fitness to Practise & Hearings” section which includes downloadable decisions.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulates nurses and midwives in the UK and maintains a register of qualified nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses. The register is searchable online. Other site content includes information on the fitness to practise process, with details of recent hearing outcomes; fitness to practise annual reports; links to legislation; the NMC code of conduct; and circulars.
Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) inspects education and training for learners of all ages in England except those in higher education institutes and universities. Since 1 April 2007 it has also been responsible for the registration, regulation and inspection of children’s social care in England. Content here on the GOV.UK web site includes inspection reports, research reports, news, forms and guidance, consultations, statistics, and annual reports 1993-94 onwards.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Health Service Ombudsman (two separate posts, held by the same individual) investigate complaints about government departments and agencies and certain other public bodies in the UK, and the National Health Service in England. The site contains information on the complaint procedure, links to relevant legislation, and documents, including reports and press releases.
The Society is the regulatory and professional body for pharmacists in Northern Ireland. Its register is searchable online. Other content includes guidance, links to legislation, the Code of Ethics, and details of the complaint procedure.
Primary Health Lists became a jurisdiction within the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal on 18 January 2010, taking over the role of the former Family Health Services Appeal Authority (FHSAA). The Tribunal hears appeals from providers of primary health care against suspension or removal from health authority lists. This section of the GOV.UK web site has information on the appeal process including links to forms and guidance, rules and regulations, hearing lists, and decisions June 2004 onwards.
The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care promotes best practice and consistency in the regulation of health and care professionals by nine regulatory bodies – the General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Health and Care Professions Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, and Pharmaceutical Council of Northern Ireland. This includes reviewing their disciplinary decisions and, where considered appropriate, referring them to the High Court. It was known before 1 December 2012 as the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), and was originally established in 2003 as the Council for the Regulation of Healthcare Professionals (CRHP). Current site content extends back to 2008.
The Registered Homes Tribunal heard appeals relating to the registration of nursing homes, care homes and children’s homes prior to the establishment of what is now known as the First-tier Tribunal (Care Standards). This is a database of its decisions 1985-2004 on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary web site.
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) is the independent health and social care services regulator for Northern Ireland. Its site provides links to relevant legislation on the Legislation.gov.uk site, including the Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003, under which RQIA was established in 2005.
This research guide published on the GlobaLex site comprises mainly links – to institutions, treaties and other documents – relating to international health law, together with a selected bibliography of books and articles. It was prepared by Chenglin Liu of St Mary’s University School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. This is an updated version of January/February 2010: the original guide dated August 2006 is also available.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons in the UK, with statutory responsibilities set out in the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966. The text of the Act is downloadable, and there is information and advice on recent legislative changes of relevance to veterinary surgeons. The Guide to Professional Conduct is reproduced in full, and there is a searchable register of members. Information on the complaints procedure and details of disciplinary proceedings, including findings and judgments 2010 onwards, are to be found in the site’s Complaints section.
The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is responsible for regulating and registering the Scottish social service workforce. Its register is searchable online. Other site content includes the Codes of Practice, Registration Rules and Conduct Rules; recent conduct hearing decisions; consultations; details of the complaints procedure; annual reports; and news.
Harold Shipman, a former doctor, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 for the murder of fifteen of his patients, and died in prison 13 January 2004. Following allegations that he may have murdered many more, a public inquiry was set up under the chairmanship of Dame Janet Smith DBE. The inquiry web site, now archived by the National Archives, provides full documentation including the six reports published between July 2002 and January 2005.
Social Care Wales is responsible for registering and regulating social care workers in Wales. It was established on 3 April 2017 and combines the functions of the former Care Council for Wales and the Social Services Improvement Agency. Its online register is searchable. Other site content includes codes of practice and practice guidance, outcomes of fitness to practise hearings, and an “Information and Learning Hub” which contains information, with links, on social care legislation in Wales.
This was an independent inquiry set up to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of Victoria Climbié, aged 8, while in the care of her aunt and her aunt’s lover. The final report by Lord Laming, published January 2003, is available here on the GOV.UK site.