Professional regulation

Regulation exists in many forms, from employer-led to statutory, with a number of variations in structure and processes but with a common aim to ensure public safety. The reason for such variation is historical legal frameworks which over time, have seen changes to rules and regulations, often in relation to fitness and practice arrangements.

Current position
We currently have three approaches to regulation including: 

  • statutory regulation of 32 professions across nine professional regulatory bodies 
  • a number of voluntary registers who are maintained by professional bodies
  • an employer-led system that exists for the whole workforce, not just those who are not subject to additional layers of regulation and registration. 

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) oversees the professional regulators, working with them to improve the way that professionals are regulated. They also have powers to accredit voluntary registers and work closely with the Government by giving policy advice and encouraging research to improve regulation.

Surgeon screen

Statutory regulation

There are nine health and care professional regulatory bodies in the UK. Find out what they do and who oversees them. 

Pouring pills

Voluntary registers

Voluntary registers provide a layer of protection to anyone looking for health and care services that are not regulated by statute.

trainee doctors

Role of the employer

Employers are responsible for delivering high quality care, and for ensuring there are strong governance processes in place to enable continual improvement of this care. This section also covers professional indemnity arrangements.

Surgeon washing hands


Find out about medical revalidation, an approach other regulators are considering to ensure their healthcare professionals are fit to practise. 

Nurse checking baby

Revalidation for nurses and midwives

This section describes revalidation arrangements for the nursing and midwifery workforce.

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