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Appendix 3

Registration

Registration can be considered from two perspectives:

i) Registration with a statutory regulatory body, for example the Health Professions Council (for radiographers, clinical scientists) or Nursing and Midwifery Council (for midwife sonographers, nurse sonographers). All sonographers with an approved UK award in radiography as their initial qualification are expected to be registered with the Health Professions Council. Sonographers who trained in the UK and whose route into ultrasound practice was not via radiography should be registered with the HPC or other statutory health regulatory body, if this is possible.

In 2008 The SCoR formally applied to the Health Professions Council (HPC) for sonography to become a regulated profession and „sonographer‟ to become a protected title. In October 2009 the Chief Executive of the Health Professions Council wrote to the Secretary of State for Health recommending regulation, subject to consideration being given to two points relating to a report for the Department of Health on the extension of professional regulation. It could still be several years before the legislative process is completed, however. 

ii) Registration with the College of Radiographers through accreditation of level of practice and via the Public Voluntary Register of Sonographers which was opened in 2007 in connection with the above application to the HPC.  All qualified sonographers, including those registered with UK statutory regulatory bodies, should register with the Public Voluntary Register of Sonographers which is maintained by the College of Radiographers. This was set up jointly by the College of Radiographers and the United Kingdom Association of Sonographers to support the application in 2008 for 'sonographer' to become a legally protected title, and 'sonography' a statutorily regulated profession. This voluntary register is also open to those sonographers who are involved in fields such as teaching, management and research.  

In most cases, sonographers will be able to register with one of the statutory healthcare regulators as in (i) above. However, it should be noted that there is no current legal requirement for a sonographer to be registered with a statutory regulatory body. Hence, there is no statutory requirement for an employer to make this a pre-requisite for employment.

Where employers insist on registration, this will mean that they will not be able to recruit sonographers who may be able to demonstrate they are suitably qualified and competent but,  through no fault of their own, cannot be registered at present.

Sonographers from overseas may be eligible to register with the HPC as a radiographer or a clinical scientist, for example, or other regulatory body such as the NMC as a midwife. Whether they are registered or not to practice ultrasound in the UK they would be expected to demonstrate to a potential employer that they have met the standards equivalent to those of a CASE accredited PgC, PgD or MSc qualified sonographer. Individual NHS Trusts, Health Boards and other employers should have mechanisms in place to ensure that these standards are being met. 

Reference:
 
Society and College of Radiographers    The Scope of Practice in Medical Ultrasound  SCoR
2009

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