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
- Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care
- regulatory event
- contact information
The professional healthcare regulatory bodies are:
- General Chiropractic Council (GCC) - chiropractors
- General Dental Council (GDC) - dentists, dental nurses, dental technicians clinical dental technicians, dental hygienists, dental therapists and orthodontic therapists
- General Medical Council (GMC) - doctors
- General Optical Council (GOC) - optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses
- General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) - osteopaths
- Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) - arts therapists, biomedical scientists, chiropodists / podiatrists, clinical scientists, dieticians, hearing aid dispensers, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, practitioner psychologists, prosthetists /orthotists, radiographers, and speech and language therapists (and until December 2019, social workers in England)
- General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) - pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
- Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) - nurses, midwives and nursing associates (England only)
- The Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) - pharmacists who work in Northern Ireland
The following regulatory bodies have devolved professions:
- Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) - operating department practitioners (ODP), practitioner psychologists
- General Dental Council (GDC) - dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians, orthodontic therapists
- General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) - pharmacy technicians
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.
- 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.
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 24 October 2022 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. This is the first annual regulatory event to take place since 2019. Information on previous regulatory events held since 2008 is on the event website.
Telephone: 0131 244 1747