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 accredited registers that 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 assess and accredit organisations who register practitioners, who are not regulated by law, and work closely with the Government by giving policy advice and encouraging research to improve regulation.

Accredited registers can help employers seek the necessary assurance that health practitioners working in unregulated health care occupations meet high levels of education, skills and expertise to practice in their chosen profession. It is not compulsory for unregulated practitioners to go on an accredited register but clearly there are added values in them being able to demonstrate to employers their commitment to being recognized as being part of a professional community that works to high standards.

Our work

We work to ensure that employer views are represented in national consultations related to professional regulation. See below for a list of our recent responses on behalf of employers:

For more information about our consultation responses, contact

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

Accredited registers

Accredited registers provide a layer of protection to employers recruiting qualified professionals who 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.


Revalidation for pharmacists

This section describes revalidation arrangements for pharmacists.

Related News

Government launches consultation on the reform of professional regulation

Employers can submit views on proposals to modernise the legislation of the health professional regulatory bodies.

View article

NMC announces post-registration consultation launch date

Consultation on post-registration standards will launch in April 2021.

View article

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