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. 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. 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. To reflect this change, the HPC was renamed the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to better reflect the increasingly diverse range of professions it regulates. These changes were made by government as part of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. 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.
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). Instances of professional misconduct, if an individual provider is found to not meet Council standards, can lead to dismissal from the National Health Service.
Professions regulated by the HCPC
The HCPC regulates 16 health professions. They are:
- Arts therapists
- Biomedical scientists
- Clinical scientists
- Hearing aid dispensers
- Occupational therapists
- Operating department practitioners
- Practitioner psychologists (e.g. Clinical psychologists)
- Prosthetists and orthotists
- Social workers in England
- 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.
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:
- General Medical Council
- Nursing and Midwifery Council
- General Dental Council
- General Pharmaceutical Council
- General Optical Council
- General Chiropractic Council
- General Osteopathic Council
- Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
- Health and Care Professions Council
- HCPC - Health Professions Council . Accessed 13 August 2012.
- Health and Care Professions Council: About Us - http://www.hcpc-uk.org/aboutus/. Accessed 13 August 2012.
- Health Professions Council: Press Releases - http://www.hcpc-uk.org/mediaandevents/pressreleases/index.asp?id=552. Accessed 13 Aug 2012.
- Health and Care Professions Council: HPC to become HCPC on 1 August 2012 - http://www.hpc-uk.org/mediaandevents/pressreleases/hpctobecomehcpcon1august2012/. Accessed 13 August 2012.
- Health Professions Council meeting agenda summary, Thursday 10 February 2011 - http://www.hpc-uk.org/assets/documents/1000333DCouncil_decisions_February_2011.pdf. Accessed 14 March 2011.
- National Health Service: Professional misconduct - http://www.nhs.uk/choiceinthenhs/rightsandpledges/complaints/pages/professionalmisconduct.aspx. Accessed 14 March 2011.
- Health and Care Professions Council: Professions - http://www.hcpc-uk.org/aboutregistration/professions/. Accessed 13 August 2012.
- Health and Care Professions Council: Professions - http://www.hcpc-uk.org/aboutregistration/protectedtitles/. Accessed 13 August 2012.