Health and Care Professions Council

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC, formerly the Health Professions Council, HPC) is a statutory regulator of over 280,000 professionals from 15 health and care professions in the United Kingdom.[1] 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.

Health and Care Professions Council
PredecessorCouncil for Professions Supplementary to Medicine
Formation2003 (2003)
TypeStatutory regulator
PurposeTo protect the public
United Kingdom
Parent organization
Professional Standards Authority


The Health Professions Council 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).

By 2005, thirteen protected titles were regulated by the HPC: arts therapists; biomedical scientists; chiropodists/podiatrists; clinical scientists; dieticians; occupational therapists; operating department practitioners; orthoptists; paramedics; physiotherapists; prothetists and orthotists; radiographers; and speech and language therapists.[3]

On 1 August 2012, the organisation took over the regulation of social workers in England from the General Social Care Council.[4] The HPC was renamed the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), reflecting its new responsibilities.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

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 Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

On Monday 2 December 2019, the regulation of social workers in England was transferred to Social Work England.

Professions regulated by the HCPC

The HCPC regulates 15 categories of health and care professionals. They are:[8]

CategoryProtected TitlesNumber of registrantsProfessional bodies
Arts therapistsArt Psychotherapist
Art Therapist
Music Therapist
4,725British Association of Art Therapists
British Association of Dramatherapists
British Association for Music Therapy
Biomedical scientistsBiomedical Scientist23,785Institute of Biomedical Science
13,106The 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 ScientistsClinical Scientist6,917Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS)
DietitiansDietitian10,136British Dietetic Association
Hearing aid dispensersHearing aid dispenser3,263British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA)
Occupational therapistsOccupational Therapist39,495Royal College of Occupational Therapists
Operating department practitionersOperating Department Practitioner14,351College of Operating Department Practitioners (CODP)
Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP)
OrthoptistsOrthoptist1,485British & Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS)
ParamedicsParamedic28,617College of Paramedics
PhysiotherapistsPhysical Therapist
57,796Chartered 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
24,478British Psychological Society (BPS)
Association of Educational Psychologists
Prosthetists and orthotistsOrthotist
1,077British Association of Prosthetists & Orthotists
RadiographersDiagnostic Radiographer
Therapeutic Radiographer
36,234The Society & College of Radiographers
Speech and language therapistsSpeech and Language Therapist
Speech Therapist
16,384Royal 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.[9]

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.[10]

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 . Accessed 13 August 2012.
  2. Health and Care Professions Council: About Us - Accessed 13 August 2012.
  3. "Register aims to stop bogus health practitioners". The Guardian. 6 June 2005. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  4. "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.
  5. "Press release: New name for the Health Professions Council". Health and Care Professions Council. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  6. "About us: We have changed our name". Health and Care Professions Council. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  7. Health Professions Council meeting agenda summary, Thursday 10 February 2011 - Accessed 14 March 2011.
  8. "About registration: Professions". Health and Care Professions Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  9. "About registration: Protected titles". Health and Care Professions Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  10. "Complaints". Health and Care Professions Council. Retrieved 2 August 2014.

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