Why have registered healthcare scientists?
Registration of professionals is important for the protection of patients and is increasingly viewed as essential by employers, providers, commissioners and patients themselves. Through registration, an individual shows that 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 and show they are Fit to Practise then they can have their Registration status restricted or removed completely. The various stages and specialisms of the Healthcare Science workforce are 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 registration
How Healthcare Science regulation is changing
The new education and training routes introduced through Modernising Scientific Careers are changing the arrangements for Registration across the various career levels of healthcare science.
Assistants and Associates
These groups will be covered by a Register or Directory (ie non-accredited registration arrangements) by voluntary registration such as through the Academy. Precise details of the arrangements are still being developed
Healthcare Science Practitioners
The AHCS runs a Register for Healthcare Science Practitioners not covered by statutory regulation. Our Register has recently been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.
Practitioners who have completed an HCPC-approved PTP course in Life Sciences are eligible to apply for Statutory Regulation as Biomedical Scientists. A list of accredited PTP programmes is available on the NHS networks website.
Individuals completing a Scientist Training Programme course, or completing STP Equivalence through the Academy are eligible to apply for Statutory Registration as Clinical Scientists.
HSST (Higher Specialist Scientist Training)
At this level, all indivdiuals should be have statutory registration with the HCPC as Clinical Scientists. The Academy will hold a voluntary register of those people completing HSST through training or equivalence.
Voluntary or Statutory Regulation?
The Academy 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 coalition 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 Academy believe that delivering a register that has been Accredited by the PSA (Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care) and coordinated across all of healthcare science will be an important step forward to delivering towards achieving this aim.