Organisations that regulate professions in Health and Social Care


The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

NMC were established under the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 and regulate nurses and midwives in the UK. They protect the public by setting standards of education, training, conduct and performance to ensure the professionals can deliver high quality healthcare. They ensure knowledge and skills are updated and that the professional standards are upheld. If a professional falls short of the standards, there is a clear process to investigate them and they have a register of professionals allowed to practise in the UK.

The standards for nurses represent the knowledge, skills and attributes that all registered nurses must demonstrate when caring for people of all ages and across all care settings. They reflect what the public can expect of nurses, and provide a benchmark for both  nurses from abroad wishing to join the register and people who plan to return to practice after a period of absence. There are seven platforms: being accountable, promoting health and preventing ill health, assessing needs and planning care, providing and evaluating care, leading care and working in teams, improving safety and quality of care, and coordinating care.

They set out the standards of practice and behaviour expected of registered midwives. They have set education standards and standards of competence, and work with midwives and mothers to develop new proficiency standards to ensure midwives are prepared for all challenges.

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The Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

The RCN is a membership organisation of more than 435,000 registered nurses, midwives, health care assistants and nursing students. They carry out work on nursing standards, education and practice. They represent the professional interests of nursing staff. The RCN is on the NHS Staff Council, negotiating pay, terms and conditions for NHS staff. They offer their members free advice and support, and promote inclusion. Every three years, members on the RCN register must revalidate with the RCN, which reinforces their duty to maintain fitness, encourages engagement and encourages them to incorporate the Code.

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The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC were set up to protect the public by keeping a register of health and care professionals who meet their standards for training, professional skills, behaviour and health. They regulate many professions including dieticians, occupational therapists, social workers and speech and language therapists. Anyone in one of the professions they regulate must be on the HCPC register, and if they are not they are breaking the law. The HCPC council develops and monitors strategy and policy. If a registrant doesn’t meet their standards, they can take action which might include stopping them from practising.

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The General Medical Council (GMC)

They protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK. The GMC decide which doctors are qualified to work in the UK, oversee UK medical education and training, set the standards doctors need to follow and take action to prevent a doctor putting the safety of patients or the public’s confidence in doctors at risk where necessary. They manage the UK medical register, checking every doctor’s identity and qualifications before they can join the register and contacting their previous employers.

They set the standards for doctors, which set out the professional values, knowledge, skills and behaviours required.

They ensure that doctors get the education and training they need by setting standards for medical education and monitoring training environments, help improve standards through revalidation and act on any serious concerns about doctors.

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