Regulation

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 is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

This means that any relevant legislation must be approved by the Scottish Parliament. Although the Department of Health and Social Care leads on work, in practice we ensure that any legislation which needs to pass through the Scottish Parliament takes into account Scottish needs and requirements. 

More information is in the following sections: 

Professional bodies

The professional healthcare regulatory bodies are:   

The following regulatory bodies have devolved professions: 

All four countries are committed to working together to regulate healthcare professionals to ensure clarity and common standards. This helps with staff mobility, recognises continuing professional development for practitioners and takes account of different responsibilities for regulation across the UK.   

We funded a project in collaboration with the GMC to identify areas of risk within medical practice and to help develop other ways to address those risks and reduce levels of harm, particularly through communication failures. The understanding communication failures involving doctors report was published by the GMC in November 2019.

Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) 

The PSA oversees statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.

They:

  • assess their performance
  • conduct audits
  • scrutinise their decisions
  • report to Parliaments 

The Authority also sets standards for organisations holding accredited registers for people in unregulated health and social care occupations and accredit those organisations that meet its standards. 

The Authority 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 in England is scheduled to move to a new body, Social Work England in December 2019). The regulation of social workers and social service workers is devolved in Scotland and carried out by the Scottish Social Services Council. 

More information about accredited registers is on the Professional Standards Authority website.

Regulatory event  

We organise an annual regulatory event for health and social care professionals. 

We fund this event jointly with the professional healthcare regulatory bodies. The event brings together around 300 key stakeholders representing the Scottish Government, the regulators, NHS staff and health and social care professionals from around the United Kingdom. 

The next event will take place on 2 November 2020 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) and we will provide more information closer to the date. Information on previous regulatory events held since 2008  is on the event website. 

Contact information 

Email: RegulationUnit@gov.scot

Telephone: 0131 244 1747