4 May 2022

The Health and Care Bill completed its legislative journey at the end of April and the bill has now received Royal Assent.

We were disappointed that the workforce amendment, to strengthen workforce planning, was not passed but we were pleased to be part of the coalition of over 100 organisations collaborating to ensure that workforce was a key thread throughout the legislative passage. This work has pushed the argument forward and kept workforce at the top of the parliamentary agenda throughout the process. We, with other members of the coalition, will continue to raise the issue of workforce at every opportunity with government and policymakers, as having the right number of correctly trained, skilled staff in the right place at the right time is vital if we are to provide the excellent healthcare our patients deserve.

Gaining Royal Assent of the Health and Care Act is a major milestone towards statutory implementation of the medical examiner system in England and Wales. The Act included the legislation required to enable acute trusts in England and NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NHSWSSP) to employ medical examiners to scrutinise all non-coronial deaths. It does not mean that the medical examiner system immediately becomes statutory; secondary legislation is required and all stakeholders need time to prepare for the transition, but it is a big and very welcome step in the right direction.

The second annual RCPath Medical Examiner Annual Conference will take place on May 18th via Zoom. Representatives of the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and Improvement will be among the speakers and will give an update on plans for introduction of the statutory medical examiner system.