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SoR statement on 'entertainment' scans

8 February, 2012

The SCoR often receives enquiries from members with respect to registration requirements with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) when undertaking 3D/4D entertainment/souvenir ultrasound scans in pregnancy.

We are aware that there are many providers offering these services using staff who have no formal qualifications or training in ultrasound and with no recognisable clinical governance procedures. Some services have been set up as a purchased business package which includes only minimal ultrasound training. The legal requirement to register with the Care Quality Commission applies to providers in England and to providers based in another UK country but providing services in England. It is the legal entity (whether this is an individual, partnership or organisation) that provides the service that must register with the CQC, individual employees of that provider are not required to do so.

We have sought clarification from the Care Quality Commission which is as follows:
"Providers carrying out ultrasound in order to examine the body are required to register with the CQC — as this falls within the definition of the regulated activity 'diagnostic and screening procedures'.  This is regardless of whether the ultrasound is to examine the body for entertainment purposes or otherwise. The name of the regulated activity that it falls within may have misled some providers, but the use of ultrasound to examine the body for any purpose is regulated.

"If you are aware of any providers who are carrying out ultrasound and are not registered with us, or providers you suspect are not registered with us, or indeed providers about whom you or your members have concerns, then we would be grateful if you could let us know the details. You can contact us via email or through the website."

Some providers state in their advertising that the 3D/4D scan is purely for entertainment purposes, is not diagnostic and that no written report will be issued should a maternal or fetal problem be apparent. Although we have no evidence that SCoR members are involved in this type of provision, were this to be the case they would be operating outside of the SCoR’s Code of Conduct and Ethics and of its Professional Indemnity Insurance.

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