The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a UK-wide consultation into the regulation of healthcare professions.
This is the latest in a series of reviews and government consultations to make sure the regulation of health and social care professionals is proportionate and best protects the public from harm.
The new consultation looks at how powers to introduce and remove professions from regulation could be used in the future.
The consultation asks for views on:
- the criteria used to decide whether a profession should be regulated
- whether there are regulated professions in these sectors that no longer need statutory regulation
- whether there are unregulated professions that do need statutory regulation
While the consultation is much broader than counselling and psychotherapy, it could impact how decisions are made about whether the professions are regulated in the future.
The government’s position
The government has stated in its consultation document that it currently doesn’t have any plans to bring any extra professions into statutory regulation, apart from physician associates and anaesthesia associates. However, this consultation is intended to inform future thinking and comes at a time when the government is seeking extra legislative powers as part of the Health and Care bill.
At the end of January, government health minister Edward Argar confirmed there were “no current plans to regulate psychotherapists, counsellors or other therapist roles” in Parliament in response to a question from Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle.
We’ll be responding to the consultation and will publish our full response on our website.
We’re committed to working within a regulatory framework that delivers the high professional standards and level of public protection that’s expected of our members. The government’s preferred regulatory framework for the professions remains the Accredited Registers Programme, which is overseen by the Professional Standards Authority.
We outlined our views on the effectiveness and barriers to that scheme in our PSA Accredited Registers programme consultation response in 2021.
Our view is that if the government were to explore the possibility of statutory regulation of counsellors and psychotherapists, it would need to be in collaboration with all the relevant professional bodies and proposals would need to be proportionate to risk.
We’d consult all our members if changes were proposed.
Responding to the current consultation
We’re aware our members have differing views on statutory regulation. If you’re planning to respond to the current consultation through the government’s website, we’d like to invite you to share your response with us.
This will give us a better sense of our members’ thinking on this complex issue.
Read more about the healthcare regulation consultation and how to submit a response on www.gov.uk.
How to get a copy of your submission
Once you’ve completed your submission, you’ll be given the option to view your full response. This will open in a new window which you can save and share with us via email.
Please send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
The consultation closes at 11.45pm on 31 March 2022.