Guidance on the regulation of independent clinics in Scotland

Published: 27 October 2016 Ultrasound

On 1 April 2016 the regulation of independent clinics was commenced in Scotland and from 1 April 2017 all independent clinics employing certain categories of healthcare professional must be registered with Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

The term ‘services’ includes consultations, investigations and treatments. Until now the regulation of independent healthcare in Scotland only applied to providers of independent hospitals and private psychiatric hospitals but is being extended to all independent clinics.

Independent clinics are defined in the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 as clinics that are not part of a hospital and in or from which services are provided by a medical practitioner, dental practitioner, registered nurse, registered midwife or dental care professional (clinical dental technician, dental hygienist, dental nurse, dental technician, dental therapist, orthodontic therapist), subject to some exclusions.

Independent clinics where services are given by radiographers or sonographers, who are not also registered midwives, registered nurses, registered medical practitioners or dental professionals as listed above are not required to register.  

The requirement to register is based on the professionals working in the clinic, not the services provided.

It is possible that a few SCoR radiographer and sonographer members providing independent clinics employ or are themselves a medical practitioner, registered nurse, registered midwife or dental professional as listed above and therefore will be required to register.

Early contact with Healthcare Improvement Scotland is advised.

It is the provider of the service that must register and not their individual employees.

The independent provider organisation could for example be a company, franchise, franchisee, charity, partnership or sole trader.

The duty on the provider is to register their service or services as described above.  

Therefore, independent healthcare providers based outside Scotland but who have independent clinics in Scotland are required to register them with Healthcare Improvement Scotland, regardless of any registration they may have with the other UK healthcare regulators.

The SCoR cannot advise as to whether any individual provider is required to register.

The onus will be on the provider organisation to register and they should contact Healthcare Improvement Scotland if they need further advice.

The Independent Healthcare Enquiry Line is 0131 623 4342 or questions can be sent to [email protected]

Healthcare Improvement Scotland has published advice and Frequently Asked Questions.