Why regulation matters to all of us

The regulation of health professionals is emerging as one of the most topical issues among health care disciplines in the 21st century. Next February, the 2nd health professions' regulation conference will be held in Geneva, hosted by the World Health Professions Alliance and WCPT. Why should we be interested?
Professions, governments and policy makers alike are devoting time, money and energy into investigating how regulation can improve comprehensive patient care and outcomes, and decrease the costs of healthcare. That is why the World Health Professions Alliance, with WCPT, has taken up the task of bringing together experts in all fields of healthcare and regulatory policy at the World Health Professions Conference on Regulation, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in February 2010.
This will be the second such conference – the first was held in May 2008 and was met with an overwhelmingly positive attendance and response. Over 500 participants, representing a diverse selection of health practitioners and policy makers, were engaged in the theme “The role and future of health professions regulation”.
This time the theme will be “Shaping the future of health professionals’ regulation”. It will be an opportunity for learning, knowledge exchange and multidisciplinary professional growth on an international platform, and is aimed at representatives of regulatory bodies, governments, professional organisations, along with leaders in healthcare, academia and patient groups.
Recognising that public protection is the primary aim of health professional regulation, the conference will aim to help shape the future of health professional regulation as global health systems evolve.
It provides an opportunity to hear as well as contribute to discussions on current issues being faced by health professionals around the world.  Speakers have been selected based on their expertise within selected topics as well as their reputation for engaging audiences.
Marilyn Moffat, President of WCPT, said: “While we come from different professions and from different parts of the world, it was clear at the first conference that the issues are similar for all of us.  Collaborative events such as this can contribute to finding innovative solutions in a changing environment”.
Regulation is a consequence of the social contract established between professions and governments. As the scope and practice of many healthcare professions changes, so will the regulation model.
Regulation encompasses many aspects of the healthcare professional’s life: their education, their entry into the profession, their activities. The conference will explore each of these aspects and examine how each profession may best contribute to the constructive evolution of health professions regulation worldwide.
In particular, it will:
  • explore a desired future for health professional regulation;
  • examine the regulatory and professional issues relating to the international migration of health professionals;
  • evaluate the relationship between health professional education, regulation and standards of practice.
All conference delegates will be invited to participate in the first ever global survey designed to capture information about the regulation of health professionals.  Data obtained from this survey will be presented early in the conference and be available for discussion during the professional group sessions.
Margaret Grant, Chief Executive Officer for the Australian Physiotherapy Council and a member of the programme planning group for the second world conference said:  “At a global level, governments, professions and the community are grappling with regulatory reform in an attempt to address factors such as workforce shortages, elimination of barriers to global mobility and more explicit recognition of the public interest.”
“New models of regulation are emerging as governments, professions and the community try to find the ideal balance between public interest and professional interest whilst creating a more flexible and sustainable workforce. This conference is of vital importance to all physiotherapists who want to know about the potential effect of regulatory change on their own practice and the opportunities for physiotherapy within the new models. The inclusion of themed workshops in the 2010 conference provides a great opportunity for all conference attendees to share their own experiences. The outcomes of the conference will help to shape the future for us all.
The 2nd World Health Professions Conference on Regulation (WHPCR 2010) 18-19 February, 2010 Geneva.  For more information on the programme and how to register, please visit www.whpa.org/whpcr2010