Regulation of Sports Therapists, the past, current and future applications.
A series of questions put to the Policy department of HCPC on 16th March 2020 by Gary Benson Founder of STA asking for clarification of a number of points
Point 1; What is the current status of any application for Regulation of Sports Therapy?
Point 2; What is an Allied Health Professional (AHP)? How does HCPC regulate AHP references on public facing websites?
Point 3. Assuming a further application is received, given that the Enabling Excellence Command Paper 2011 is the latest Governmental directive, what are the chances of it succeeding and would it require full consultation with all industry stakeholders as previously recommended?
Reply from HCPC on 22nd March 2020
Thank-you for your email. I have addressed each of your questions in turn:
We are currently not aware of any plans for the HCPC to regulate Sports Therapists. Unfortunately, the HCPC does not have the power to make a decision to regulate new professions. Decisions about whether statutory regulation should be introduced for new professions rests solely with the UK Government and Parliament. You can read more about this process and about alternative systems of voluntary registration on our website, here.
The Society of Sports Therapists previously made applications to our Council in March 2006, May 2006 and February 2011, following which we issued recommendations. The web page referenced above includes a table which will direct you to each the papers for and minutes of these meetings.
In regards to the number of professions we regulate, we regulate 15 (a full list is available here). We used to regulate 16 as we also regulated social workers in England, but in December 2019 they moved to a new regulator- Social Work England.
Allied Health Professionals
The HCPC does not define which professions are considered AHPs. This is set by Governments and varies across the four nations. Not all HCPC registrants are AHPs. The list of AHPs for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are linked below:
The term AHP is not a title which HCPC protects, although only professions which fall under Government’s definition of AHPs will be recognised as AHPs by organisations such as the NHS.
Enabling Excellence / future regulation
We are unable to advise on the prospects of sports therapists getting statutory regulation at this moment in time, as this is a decision for Government.
In 2011, the Government published a Command Paper entitled 'Enabling Excellence' in which they outlined their preference for a system of voluntary registration. This means that statutory regulation will only be considered in exceptional circumstances where 'voluntary registers are not considered sufficient to manage the risk' and where it is possible to demonstrate a 'compelling case' on the basis of public safety risk.
Should Government pursue this, it is highly likely there would be a public consultation. This would be run by Government as opposed to ourselves, although we would need to consult on any standards, we introduced for that profession should we regulate them. You can look at the Government’s recent approach to the regulation of physician associates to see how this would likely be approached.
I hope this is helpful. Please do contact us if you have any further questions.
The Health and Care Professions Council
Park House, 184-186 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BU www.hcpc-uk.org
tel +44 (0)20 7840 9815