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Health and Care Professions Council

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC, formerly the Health Professions Council, HPC) is a statutory regulator of 308,000 health and care professionals from 16 professions in the United Kingdom.[1] It was set up in 2003 under the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002, to replace the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (CPSM). The Council reports its main purpose is to protect the public. It does this by setting and maintaining standards of proficiency and conduct for the professions it regulates.[2] Its key functions include approving education and training programmes which health and care professionals must complete before they can register with the HCPC; and maintaining and publishing a Register of health and care providers who meet pre-determined professional requirements and standards of practice.

On 1 August 2012, the HCPC took over the regulation of social workers in England from the General Social Care Council.[3] The HPC was renamed the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), reflecting its new responsibilities.[4] These changes were made by the UK Government as part of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The strap line that they use was also changed to "Regulating health, psychological and social work professionals" which was considered better suited to describe the diversity of professionals that they regulate.[5] The HCPC has also reported it was being accorded new powers to set up voluntary registers for unregulated professions or related professions, including students seeking to enter a regulated or unregulated profession or related occupation.[6]

The work of the HCPC and other health professions regulators in the UK (e.g. General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Dental Council, etc.) is overseen by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE).

Professions regulated by the HCPC

The HCPC regulates 16 categories of health and care professionals. They are:[7]

Category Protected Titles Number of registrants Professional bodies
Arts therapists Art Psychotherapist
Art Therapist
Music Therapist
3,192 British Association of Art Therapists
British Association of Dramatherapists
British Association for Music Therapy
Biomedical scientists Biomedical Scientist 21,929 Institute of Biomedical Science
Chiropodists/podiatrists Chiropodist
12,950 The Society of Chiropodists & Podiatrists
The British Chiropody and Podiatry Association
The Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
The Alliance of Private Sector Chiropody and Podiatry Practitioners
Clinical Scientists Clinical Scientist 4,988 Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS)
Dietitians Dietitian 8,355 British Dietetic Association
Hearing aid dispensers Hearing aid dispenser 2,021 British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA)
Occupational therapists Occupational Therapist 34,253 British Association of Occupational Therapists
Operating department practitioners Operating Department Practitioner 11,896 College of Operating Department Practitioners (CODP)
Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP)
Orthoptists Orthoptist 1,315 British & Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS)
Paramedics Paramedic 20,156 College of Paramedics
Physiotherapists Physical Therapist
47,115 Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Practitioner psychologists (e.g. Clinical psychologists) Clinical psychologist
Counselling psychologist
Educational psychologist
Forensic psychologist
Health psychologist
Occupational psychologist
Practitioner psychologist
Registered psychologist
Sport and exercise psychologist
19,989 British Psychological Society (BPS)
Association of Educational Psychologists
Prosthetists and orthotists Orthotist
950 British Association of Prosthetists & Orthotists
Radiographers Diagnostic Radiographer
Therapeutic Radiographer
28,159 The Society & College of Radiographers
Social workers in England Social worker 88,981 British Association of Social Workers
The College of Social Work
Speech and language therapists Speech and Language Therapist
Speech Therapist
14,173 Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

All of these professions have at least one professional title that is protected by law, including those shown above. Anyone using these titles must be registered with the HCPC. It is a criminal offence for someone to claim that they are registered with the HCPC when they are not or to use a protected title that they are not entitled to use.[8]

Maintaining standards

If a professional who is registered with them does not meet the standards which are set, the HCPC can take action which might include stopping an individual from practising.[9]

Other UK healthcare regulators

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA), is an independent body accountable to the UK Parliament, which promotes the health and wellbeing of the public and oversees the nine UK healthcare regulators. These are:

See also


  1. ^ HCPC - Health Professions Council [1]. Accessed 13 August 2012.
  2. ^ Health and Care Professions Council: About Us - Accessed 13 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Press release: Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) takes over the regulation of social workers in England". Health and Care Professions Council. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Press release: New name for the Health Professions Council". Health and Care Professions Council. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "About us: We have changed our name". Health and Care Professions Council. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Health Professions Council meeting agenda summary, Thursday 10 February 2011 - Accessed 14 March 2011.
  7. ^ "About registration: Professions". Health and Care Professions Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "About registration: Protected titles". Health and Care Professions Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Complaints". Health and Care Professions Council. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 

External links