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Regulation of Healthcare Professionals

Certain health care professions which involve risk of serious harm to patients and clients are statutorily regulated. This regulation is carried out by regulatory bodies with the legal responsibility for keeping registers of people entitled to practise in the United Kingdom, setting appropriate standards and taking action when these standards are not met.

More information about these bodies and the professions they each regulate can be found on their websites and can be accessed in the sidebar.

Regulation and devolution

The regulation of the majority of healthcare professional groups is reserved.  However, the regulation of new groups of healthcare professionals and those regulated since the Scotland Act 1998 are devolved to the Scottish Parliament (See table – Regulatory Bodies: Reserved and Devolved – in related downloads). 

This means that any relevant legislation must be approved by the Scottish Parliament, and now some regulators have a mix of reserved and devolved professional groups.  In practice, the Department of Health in England leads the work which the Scottish Government feeds into.  This ensures that any legislation which needs to pass through the Scottish Parliament takes into account Scottish needs.

There is also a current commitment in the devolved administrations to four country working to regulate health care professionals. This ensures clarity and common standards for patients, straightforward staff mobility and the recognition of continuing professional development for practitioners, taking account of different responsibilities for regulation across the United Kingdom.

Considerable progress has been made towards a more robust regulatory system which applies consistency across the UK, but sensitive to each country's needs, facilitating cross border movement of staff and aiding public understanding.

Current Legislation

The link below provides details of the statutory instruments currently laid before the Scottish Parliament:

For any further details, please contact the Regulatory Team using the details in the sidebar.

Regulators' Liaison Group

The Regulators' Liaison Group was initially established in 2007 to build on the partnership approach to regulation and to explore the interface between the different levels of responsibility for regulation at national and UK levels through to employer level (where an employer exists) and to individual regulation:

Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA)

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK. They assess their performance, conduct audits, scrutinise their decisions and report to Parliament. The Authority also set standards for organisations holding accredited registers for people in unregulated health and care occupations and accredit those organisations that meet its standards.

It is important to note that the body only has an overview role of social care in England as part of the Health and Care Professions Council’s regulation of social care workers. The regulation of social workers and social service workers is devolved in Scotland and carried out by the Scottish Social Services Council: