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Protected titles

The titles below are protected by law. Anyone using one of these titles must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, or they may be subject to prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000.

This table shows the professions we regulate and their corresponding protected titles

Profession Protected title(s)
Arts therapist • Art psychotherapist
• Art therapist
• Dramatherapist
• Music therapist
Biomedical scientist • Biomedical scientist
Chiropodist / podiatrist • Chiropodist
• Podiatrist
Clinical scientist • Clinical scientist
Dietitian • Dietitian
• Dietician
Hearing aid dispenser • Hearing aid dispenser
Occupational therapist • Occupational therapist
Operating department practitioner • Operating department practitioner
Orthoptist • Orthoptist
Paramedic • Paramedic
Physiotherapist • Physiotherapist
• Physical therapist
Practitioner psychologist • Practitioner psychologist
• Registered psychologist
• Clinical psychologist
• Counselling psychologist
• Educational psychologist
• Forensic psychologist
• Health psychologist
• Occupational psychologist
• Sport and exercise psychologist
Prosthetist / orthotist • Prosthetist
• Orthotist
Radiographer • Radiographer
• Diagnostic radiographer
• Therapeutic radiographer
Social workers in England • Social worker
Speech and language therapist • Speech and language therapist
• Speech therapist

Misuse of titles
A person commits an offence if they use a protected title if they are not registered with us*. It is also an offence to intend to deceive by implying that you are a member of one of the professions that we regulate. An example of this is if someone states that they provide chiropody services when they are not on our register.

*n.b an individual can still use the title if their application is being processed under our grandparenting scheme or are in our appeal process. If you have any queries about this please contact us.

Assistants, students and trainees
A person is not committing an offence if they use a prefix such as ‘assistant’, ‘trainee’, or ‘student’. By using these prefixes there is no intention to deceive the public because the prefix implies they are not fully qualified.

Other uses of titles
Prefixes such as ‘animal’, ‘equine’, ‘veterinary’ or ‘industrial’ show there is no intention to deceive because the prefix clearly indicates that the person concerned does not treat human beings.

How to make a complaint
If you want to make a complaint about the misuse of titles this must be done in writing. To pursue a complaint we would normally require some evidence of an offence being committed. Such evidence might include a brochure, leaflet or business card, an advertisement, an invoice, an internet website or an entry in a Directory. You should include all accompanying evidence with your complaint. Please send it to:

Case Team 3
Fitness to Practise Department
Health and Care Professions Council
Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road
London, SE11 4BU

What we do
Our aim is to ensure compliance with the legislation on the use of protected titles. When we receive information that a title is being misused we write to the person or organisation concerned, explain the law and inform them that they should not use the title. They are asked to confirm that they will no longer use the title. If they do not respond we send a ‘cease and desist’ letter which sets out the actions we will take if they continue to misuse a title and the potential consequences from this action. We may prosecute anyone who continues to misuse a protected title and they could be liable for a fine of up to £5000.

We have been working closely with the organisations who offer directory services (e.g. Yellow Pages) to ensure that only HCPC registered individuals advertise in the relevant sections of the directory.

Further information
If you need any more information, please contact our Fitness to Practise Department.

Phone: 020 7840 9814 (request Case Team 3)
Fax: 020 7582 4874
Email: ftp@hcpc-uk.org

Related Documents
FTP Service Standards - Protection of titleAdobe PDF Document27kb
Prosecution PolicyAdobe PDF Document34kb
Company and business namesMicrosoft Word Document283kb

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