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Non-executive directors announced for new adjudication body for health professionals

23 Oct 2009

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The Department of Health, the General Medical Council (GMC) and the General Optical Council (GOC) today welcomed the appointments of Andrew Colquhoun and Pamela Charlwood as the first two non-executive directors of the new Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (OHPA).

The Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator will deal with cases referred to it by the GMC and subsequently the GOC.

The newly appointed non-executive directors will work with the Chair Walter Merricks to oversee the important task of establishing this new independent body, which, from 2011, will adjudicate on fitness to practise cases brought before it by the GMC and subsequently the GOC.

The separation of investigation from adjudication through the creation of OHPA, will demonstrate that fitness to practise decisions are fair and effective, separate from the regulators, the professions and Government.

The GMC and GOC will continue their current role regarding doctors, dispensing opticians and optometrists, setting standards of practice, investigating complaints and deciding whether to refer concerns about a professional’s fitness to practise to an OHPA panel for a hearing.

The Appointments Commission on behalf of the Privy Council made both appointments based upon merit and following fair and open competition. Political activity has played no part in the process.

Walter Merricks OHPA Chair said: "I am pleased to welcome Andrew Colquhoun and Pamela Charlwood as fellow directors of OHPA. They both have distinguished career histories and will bring relevant blends of experience to the board. Their appointments mark an early milestone in the development of OHPA."


Notes to editors:

1. For more information or for media inquires please call the Department of Health Press Office on 0207 210 5221

2. The White Paper, ‘Trust, Assurance and Safety’ set out the Government’s intention to establish a new Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator which will have functions (across the whole of the UK) in relation to the professions regulated by the Medical Act 1983 and subsequently the Opticians Act 1989.

3. The Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator, OHPA is being established as a new independent body set up under the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

4. The Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (OHPA) will be entirely independent from government. Independent adjudication is intended to further enhance confidence in the decision making process around fitness to practise.

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