As we continue to welcome responses to our consultation, our Head of Accreditation Melanie Venables explains why it's important and what this means for the future of Accredited Registers.
If the person treating you or your family doesn’t have to be registered by law in the UK, how do you know they are safe?
Or, if you are employing a healthcare practitioner to work in your organisation, how do you check their suitability for the role?
There are over two million people working in unregulated health and care roles across the UK. This includes providers of mental health services, sonographers, health scientists and complementary therapists. These people often work alongside professionals regulated by statute, such as doctors and nurses.
Many of us look to recommendations from family or friends when choosing a healthcare provider. We may not give much thought to the checks in place to make sure that roles which are less visible but play an essential part of the system – such as clinical technologists – are safe to practice.
In 2012, the Authority was given new powers to accredit voluntary registers of roles within health and social care that are not subject to statutory legislation. This was envisaged by Government as a proportionate way of ensuring that bodies registering these roles operate effectively and adhere to good standards, as well as giving assurance to employers and the public. There are now 100,000 practitioners on Accredited Registers. This ensures that those choosing their services can have confidence that they meet our high standards of governance, registration and complaints processes.
Our strategic review: what and why?
Last year we launched a strategic review to evaluate the scope of the programme and identify how it can become more embedded within the wider system. As a voluntary system, unless it is recognised and used by the system as a whole, its benefits will remain largely hidden.
We see the future of the Accredited Registers programme as a robust system which supports efficient delivery of NHS healthcare and social care workforce plans across the four nations. We envision the programme as offering a greater contribution to personalised care for patients, and to support recovery in health and social care from the pandemic. The crisis has highlighted the need for greater integration of health and social care, as well as demonstrating the value of unregulated roles in supporting mental health needs. We would like to see employers ensuring that their healthcare practitioners in unregulated roles belong to Accredited Registers.
Our public consultation seeks views on how the programme can best achieve this. It tackles issues that run deep through our society - such as treatments which patients say they value, but for which there is no recognised evidence base. It sets out proposals for greater consistency of standards and a simpler system for all patients and employers to navigate. It asks whether there should be additional controls outside of statutory regulation, such as licensing, for higher risk professions in the future.
Why we need to hear from you
Currently, Accredited Registers is the only form of independent assurance for those working in non—statutory health and social care roles. We need to hear from you, whether you’re a user of these services, an employer or anyone with an interest in health and social care to ensure that it offers the levels of protection that people expect.
If you’re an employer – we’d like to know what assurances will give you confidence in the workforce that aren’t already in place?
If you’re a patient or service user – we’d like to know what protection you expect from a healthcare practitioner who is treating you, who isn’t regulated by law?
If you’re a decision maker in the health and social care system – we’d like to know what you think about our proposals for a simpler, risk-based system in the future?
The consultation closes on 18 February 2021 (28 February 2021 to respond in Welsh). To submit your consultation response, or if you have any questions, please contact us at ARconsultation@professionalstandards.org.uk