Disappointment over government stance on clinical technologists


DISAPPOINTMENT has been expressed at the government’s stance over the statutory registration of clinical technologists.

IPEM has been campaigning, alongside other like-minded organisations, for the statutory registration of clinical technologists to help deliver better patient outcomes.

Rachael Maskell MP, a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, recently met with representatives from IPEM. Following that meeting, she tabled a range of Parliamentary Questions, including three on the Department of Health and Social Care's policy on the regulation of clinical technologists. The questions were answered by Andrew Stephenson, the Minister of State for Health, on behalf of the department.

Health Professions: Registration

Rachael Maskell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what her Department's policy is on the regulation of clinical technologists. To ask…if she will introduce a statutory register for (a) clinical technologists and (b) other health professionals that use a voluntary register. To ask…whether she has had recent discussions with the Health and Care Professions Council on the registration of clinical technologists.

Andrew Stephenson: Clinical Technologists are not regulated by law and the Government has no current plans to extend statutory regulation to the profession. The statutory regulation of healthcare professionals should only be used where the risks to public and patient protection cannot be addressed in other ways, such as through employer oversight or accredited voluntary registration. The Government keeps the professions subject to statutory regulation under review and published a consultation, Healthcare regulation: deciding when statutory regulation is appropriate. The consultation ran from 6 January to 31 March 2022 and sought views on the criteria that should be used to determine when statutory regulation of a healthcare profession is appropriate. The Government will publish its response in due course. The Department has not held any recent discussions with the Health and Care Professions Council on the registration of Clinical Technologists. The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) for health and social care’s Accredited Registers Programme independently assesses organisations who register practitioners who are not regulated by law. Healthcare scientists concerned with the practical application of physics, engineering, and technology are able to apply to join the register of Clinical Technologists, which is accredited by the PSA.


Iain Threlkeld, Registrar of the Register of Clinical Technologists (RCT), said in response to Mr Stephenson’s reply: ‘The RCT is disappointed to hear that the government’s stance on the statutory registration of clinical technologists has not altered, however, we are still fully committed to working towards this aim.

‘The RCT firmly believes that those working as clinical technologists should always meet the required education and training standards, as well as actively maintaining their fitness to practice by participating in continuing profession development activities. By registering, clinical technologists not only demonstrate they meet these requirements, but they also ensure a commitment to a code of professional conduct which helps maintain the protection of the public.’

However, he added: 'The continued non statutory nature of assured registers means there is no mandatory requirement for clinical technologists to register. The RCT, however, is continuing to work with employers and healthcare organisations to ensure that holding registration becomes an ongoing requirement of employment.’

‘Ignored concerns’

Robin McDade, an IPEM Fellow, a member of the Professional and Standards Council (PSC) and an Advanced Specialist Clinical Technologist in nuclear medicine, said: ‘Clinical technologists are not regulated by law, yet fulfil the same role as radiographers who work under statutory registration.

‘Patients deserve to know that the professionals scanning or treating them, as well as those professionals who ensure that the devices they rely upon during surgery, or chemo/radiotherapy, when they are at their most vulnerable, are on a mandatory statutory register for their protection.

‘It has been two years since IPEM gave the views of the profession, which included a detailed description of the advanced clinical practice roles technologists fulfil. In failing to respond, the government has ignored the concerns of the profession.’

Healthcare regulation

IPEM’s submission to the 2022 consultation ‘Healthcare regulation: deciding when statutory registration is appropriate’, which the government has yet to respond to, highlighted a number of areas where it is felt a wholly inconsistent approach to statutory registration of professions is being applied, for example, radiographers and clinical technologists working in nuclear medicine.

The response also made the following points:

  • A qualitative and quantitative analysis of the risk of harm to patients is the most important factor to consider when deciding whether to regulate a health or care profession.
  • The regulatory landscape is currently inconsistent, which introduce risk to patients via variation in service provision.
  • Agreed that the currently regulated professions continue to satisfy the criteria for regulation and should remain subject to statutory regulation.
  • There is an opportunity for a review of the current accredited registers as set out by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), which should include professions that are evolving into new areas of work. Where it can be shown that a profession’s scope of practice is changing, the PSA should be commissioned to risk assess the profession to determine whether a current unregulated profession should remain unregulated or whether it should be considered for statutory registration.

Dr Anna Barnes, IPEM’s President, said: ‘It is disappointing the government’s stance has not changed. The response provided by members of IPEM’s PSC to the 2022 consultation went into great detail, giving IPEM the opportunity to highlight our wish to see the introduction of statutory registration for clinical technologists.’

DHSC consultation on healthcare regulation
IPEM response to consultation March 2022