For Healthcare Scientists

Why have registered Healthcare Scientists?

Registration of all healthcare professionals is important for the safety of patients and the protection of the public, and is increasingly viewed as essential by employers, providers, commissioners and patients themselves.

Through registration, an individual shows they are committed to upholding high professional standards and to keeping their knowledge, skills and experience up-to-date through ongoing professional development.

If individuals fail to uphold standards, or to demonstrate their Fitness to Practise, their Registration status can be restricted or removed completely.


Statutory or Voluntary Regulation?

The various stages and specialisms of the Healthcare Science workforce are currently regulated in different ways.  Some parts of the workforce are regulated by law (‘Statutory Regulation) through registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC); other parts of the workforce take part in voluntary Accredited Registration with the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS).

  1. Statutory Registration

Clinical Scientists, Biomedical Scientists and Hearing Aid Dispensers are subject to statutory regulation by the Health and Care Professions Council in the UK.

Clinical Scientists oversee specialist tests for diagnosing and managing disease, advise doctors on tests and interpreting data and carry out research to understand diseases.

Those who wish to practise as a Clinical Scientist need to be registered with the HCPC. If an individual trained in the UK and completed an approved programme, they may apply for registration via the ‘approved qualification’ route. Individuals from outside the UK will need to have completed an international application.

For Biomedical Scientists and Hearing Aid Dispensers, a number of programmes are delivered by higher education providers and approved by the HCPC for registration. A list of approved programmes can be found on the HCPC website.

Scientist Training Programme

Individuals completing a Scientist Training Programme (STP) course, or completing STP Equivalence through the AHCS are also eligible to apply for Statutory Registration with the HCPC as a Clinical Scientist.

The Academy for Healthcare Science is an HCPC- approved education provider for two programmes:

  • Certificate of Attainment. This is awarded on successful completion of an STP programme where trainees have an MSc certificate from an accredited Higher Education Institution and a Certificate of Completion of Scientific Training (CCST) from the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS);

See also STP Certificate of Attainment Programme Handbook (September 2016)

  • Certificate of Equivalence. When equivalence is awarded by the AHCS on successful demonstration of equivalence to the output of the STP programme

See also STP Certificate of Equivalence Programme Handbook (September 2016)

The Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS) is also an HCPC-approved education provider for training leading to eligibility to apply to HCPC for registration as a Clinical Scientist.

  1. Accredited Voluntary Registration

The Academy for Healthcare Science has long held the view that the best way to protect patients, the public and the interests of the NHS is for all groups within Healthcare Science to be covered by Statutory Regulation.

However, the Government effectively ruled out the extension of statutory regulation with the publication of its February 2011 Command Paper ‘Enabling Excellence: Autonomy and Accountability for Health and Social Care Staff’. This set out the expectation that Assured (now Accredited) Voluntary Registers would be the expected way forward. The command paper stated that extensions to statutory regulation “will only be considered where there is a compelling case on the basis of a public safety risk and where assured voluntary registers are not considered sufficient to manage this risk”.

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) is the independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament, which oversees the regulators of healthcare professions.  The PSA website contains the Authority’s latest views and recommendations for the development and future of regulation of health and care professionals.

The Academy believes that providing a register for individuals not covered by statutory regulation, which has been accredited by the PSA and is coordinated across all of Healthcare Science, is an essential step to achieving the ultimate aim of patient safety and public confidence.