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Home > About regulation > Regulation of further groups > Public health specialists

Public health specialists

On 23 January 2012, Andrew Lansley MP, Secretary of State for Health, announced plans to ensure that non-medically qualified public health specialists are appropriately regulated. The planned regulation of this group by the HCPC was confirmed in the Department of Health’s ‘Transforming Public Health’ bulletin. The regulation of this group was previously the subject of a Department of Health review and also featured in the recommendations of the NHS Future Forum's second report.

The majority of public health specialists are doctors who have undertaken specialist training administered by the Faculty of Public Health and who are registered as public health specialists with the General Medical Council (GMC). Some others are dentists who are registered as specialists with the General Dental Council (GDC).

However, a number of other individuals have qualified as public health professionals but do not have a background in medicine or dentistry. This group includes some nurses, pharmacists, environmental health officers and others who are not regulated elsewhere. The UK Public Health Register runs a voluntary register for these individuals.

In December 2015, the Ben Gummer MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, published a ministerial statement on professional regulation. That statement said:

    'This Government remains committed to the principle of proportionate regulation of healthcare professionals. Having considered the arrangements already in place to ensure that Public Health Specialists from backgrounds other than dentistry or medicine are appropriately registered and qualified, the Government does not consider that extending statutory regulation to this professional group is necessary. To this end, it will not be taking forward secondary legislation in this regard.'

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