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Government ‘cuts back red tape’ in UK law review of health and care regulations

A number of health and safety regulations and other rules and legislation affecting mental health, quality of care, the NHS and public health have been removed after being deemed unnecessary.

These form part of the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ UK law reviews, which aims to reduce regulations affecting businesses and remove any that may be hampering employers from reaching their company’s goals without providing any clear benefits.

Before the review occurred, there were a total of 555 regulations affecting social care and healthy living, and as a result of the review, 128 have been scrapped entirely, with improvements scheduled to take place to a further 252. This means that because of the Red Tape Challenge, more than two-thirds (68%) of healthy living and social care regulations have been removed or improved.


Some of the proposals the Department of Health is to take forwards include:

Simplifying some of the professional standards regulations, following recommendations made by the Law Commission

Removing health and safety laws that banned HIV home-testing equipment from sale

Minimising duplication of local authority and Care Quality Commission care home inspections through collaboration with the Department for Communities and Local Government

Improving the Healthy Start initiative by collaborating with retailers to make the scheme’s paper vouchers easier to handle, with this scheduled to occur by the end of 2015-16

Making Nursery Milk regulations more sustainable and efficient

Examining hospitals’ and care homes’ Deprivation of Liberty forms, in which people deemed to lack the mental capacity required to consent to care and treatment need to receive authorisation to deprive them of liberty, in response to concerns raised about the complexity and number of these forms, with this scheduled to be dealt with in 2014

–          Examine human tissue legislation to improve regulators’ effectiveness and efficiency

–          Reducing unnecessary guidance when the Care Quality Commission introduces new fundamental care standards

The Department of Health says these UK law reviews have examined cases in which unnecessary burdens should be removed through regulatory reform, noting many of these health and safety laws are vital to ensure the general public are protected from harm and that high safety standards are maintained.

Regulations have piled up in recent years, which has damaged businesses and wider society, the government argues. It has pledged to undertake a law review of the 21,000 regulations currently active in the nation, relating to things such as health and safety, pensions, environment, commercial law, and UK employment law, and to remove any regulations deemed unnecessary, with the government pledging to leave office with the country having an overall reduction in the number of regulations.

The government is asking people to propose which regulations they wish to see removed, with Ministers then reviewing these laws to determine which ones should be scrapped, with a default presumption that any legislation deemed unnecessarily burdensome should be removed.

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