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The Authority publishes report on regulating an occupation in fewer than all four UK countries

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care has today published a policy report commissioned by the Scottish Government, Regulating an occupation in fewer than all four UK countries: implications for policy-makers, the public and practitioners.

The work was commissioned in the context of ongoing change in the health and care professional workforce, and specifically in relation to the challenges presented by the decision to regulate nursing associates in England.

Taking into account a range of evidence, including from international sources, the report recommends that UK-wide regulation should remain the norm, but that there might be circumstances where risk assessment justifies a different approach. A decision to regulate in fewer than all four countries might be appropriate where:

  • different approaches between UK countries are justified by the outcome of an objective and robust assessment of occupational risk, and
  • the impact of taking different approaches has been assessed as having a minimal impact on workforce supply across the UK, or
  • measures can be taken that mitigate the impact on supply by facilitating the movement of workers around the UK.

The report argues that this approach will allow governments to strike a balance between regulating where necessary to address an identified risk of harm, and maintaining a unified approach to regulation UK-wide, to minimise the long-term impacts on the health and care workforce.

You can download a copy of the report here.


About the Report

The Scottish Government commissioned the Professional Standards Authority under Section 26A of the NHS Reform and Healthcare Professions Act 2002 to consider the implications of regulating a healthcare occupation in fewer than all four UK countries. The commissioning letter is attached as Annex A to the report.

Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care

Christine Braithwaite
Director Standards and Policy
Reception: 020 7389 8030

Notes to the Editor
The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees nine statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.

We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are insufficient to protect the public and it is in the public interest.

We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.

We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.

We do this to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.

Our values are at the heart of who we are and what we do. We are committed to being impartial, fair, accessible and consistent in the application of our values.

More information about our work and the approach we take is available at