I was delighted to open the Accredited Registers Conference recently and to have the opportunity to reflect on the past five plus years of the Accredited Registers programme and its future.
The Accredited Registers programme
has been a real success. It has grown from a diverse group of interested organisations to a programme of 25 registers covering over 85,000 practitioners. To put this into perspective, that is more registrants than five of the statutory regulators that we oversee. As we have said in the Untapped Resources report
, this workforce is primed to make a greater contribution to overcoming the public health challenges we face today.
One of the strengths of the programme is the diversity of the occupations covered by the Registers. However, this also poses a challenge. The more occupations within the programme, the greater the communications work required to inform service users, employers, commissioners and others about its variety and scope. These groups, especially service users, need to be aware of the programme and what accreditation means (and importantly, what it does not mean) so that they can make informed decisions about which practitioners to see, employ or commission.
Greater knowledge of the regulation of healthcare professionals amongst both professionals and the public would help to put the Accredited Registers programme into context. When our team go out and about to discuss the programme, they find that many people have little understanding of healthcare regulation. This is perfectly understandable (regulation may not be as exciting to the general population as it is to us), but it does make it challenging to raise awareness of the benefits of the programme.
Looking forwards – we need to raise awareness of the programme and its value
The future and the sustainability of the programme has long been a discussion point among the Registers, and between the Authority and the Department of Health and Social Care. It is essential that we significantly raise awareness of the programme and its value. This will require coordinated input from all interested parties, including us, Accredited Registers, the Department of Health and Social Care, and others.
We see the Accredited Registers as an increasingly important part of the regulatory landscape and I am pleased that we have reached agreement with the Department for ongoing funding for the foreseeable future. This is an important milestone to allow the programme to continue to thrive while it works towards becoming financially self-sustainable.
Harry Cayton with Philip Dunne MP at the launch of the Untapped Resources report on 31 October 2017.
Find out more about the Accredited Registers programme
Read key statistics for the programme for 2017/18
Read the report Untapped Resources - Accredited Registers in the Wider Workforce
Find out more about the conference in the latest issue of our newsletter