PCTs to appoint second responsible officer in conflict of interest

PCTs will be required to appoint additional responsible officers in situations where there is a conflict of interest between the office and GP, the DoH has confirmed.

In the responsible officer draft regulations, which have now been laid before parliament, the DoH says the PCT, or other 'designated bodies', must ensure there is no ‘conflict of interest’ or ‘appearance of bias’ between practitioners and the second responsible officer appointed.   

The DoH said it had changed the regulations after respondents to its consultation held last year said previous proposals weighted in favour of  PCTs and SHAs and should be balanced with the individual’s right to be treated fairly.

In the consultation response, which accompanies the draft regulations, the DoH said it ‘accepted the view that the balance between the organisation and the individual is not right’.

It said: ‘In particular, we accept the view that the regulation should be revised to allow for "an appearance of bias" to be a reason for nominating or appointing a second responsible officer.

‘We have also strengthened the guidance document to give more clarity and to include examples of cases where a conflict of interest or appearance of bias may occur.’

The draft regulations also outline that the responsible officer regulations will come into force on 1 January 2011.

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