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Home > Media and Events > Press room

The Health Professions Council takes on its fifteenth profession and assumes regulation of high street hearing aid dispensers

1/04/2010

HPC welcomes private sector hearing aid dispensers

The Health Professions Council has today (1 April) opened its Register to private sector hearing aid dispensers as it takes over regulation of the profession from the recently abolished Hearing Aid Council (HAC). 

The HPC already regulates over 205,000 professionals from 14 different professions including, practitioner psychologists, physiotherapists, podiatrists / chiropodists, dietitians, occupational therapists and paramedics. The HPC is now also responsible for setting the standards of training, professional skills and behaviour, for private sector hearing aid dispensers.

Dispensers will from now on have to meet the requirements of HPC’s standards of proficiency, the standards of education and training, as well as the standards of conduct, performance and ethics that are applicable to all professionals regulated by the HPC. Only private sector hearing aid dispensers registered with the HPC can legitimately test a person’s hearing and sell hearing aids on the high street.

The move has been welcomed by industry and consumer groups alike, and the HPC has worked with the HAC over a number of years to ensure a smooth changeover. The HPC has also worked effectively with stakeholders including the professionals themselves and professional bodies enabling them to have input to the development of standards.

The HPC’s more modern legislations gives it greater powers than the HAC. For example to suspend a registrant while it investigates a complaint.  HPC registrants are classed as a notifiable profession with the police (this requires the police to notify a regulator if any of its registrant is involved in an offence). In addition the HPC’s legislation was enacted after the Human Rights Act 1998 and is also therefore compliant with the European Convention.

Marc Seale, the Chief Executive of the HPC commented:

We are delighted to welcome hearing aid dispensers as our fifteenth profession to join our Register. Our collaborative working with the Hearing Aid Council has ensured a smooth transition.”

“The size and efficiency of the HPC means that annual registration fees will be £76, as opposed to £695, saving the private hearing aid industry more than £1million per year.”

“Our powers also build on the achievements made by the HAC to further protect consumers. Not only does the HPC set standards for training and professional skills, we also have powers to investigate the behaviour and conduct of dispensers throughout the consultation and sales process.”

Sandra Verkuyten, Chief Executive of the Hearing Aid Council said:

"Since the transfer was first announced in 2005, we have worked very closely with the HPC, consumer groups and the industry to make sure the handover is a success.  Together we have worked hard to improve
protection for consumers buying hearing aids and the move to HPC helps cement this progress for years to come".

Consumer Minister Kevin Brennan said:

“The Hearing Aid Council has done some great work over the last 40 years and I’d like to thank them for their dedication, but the time has come for a new, more powerful body to make sure that consumers are protected.

“The Health Professions Council, with its greater enforcement powers will be able to take tough action if consumers feel that they have been mistreated and give them the confidence to seek help if they need it.” 
The transfer of the regulation of private hearing aid dispensers to the HPC and closure of the HAC are part of the changes announced in the Government’s 2005 Budget Report to improve the way regulation works in the UK to enhance public protection and lower the cost of regulation. The size and efficiency of the HPC means that annual registration fees will be £76, as opposed to £695, saving the private hearing aid industry more than £1million per year.


Ends

Notes to Editors
1. The HAC were the statutory regulator of hearing aid dispensers since 1968 and operated as Executive Non-Departmental public body from 2003. It was abolished on 31 March 2009 following the Governments 2005 Budget Report.

2. The Health Professions Council is an independent, UK-wide health regulator set up by the Health Professions Order (2001).  The HPC keeps a register for fourteen different health professions and only registers people who meet the standards it sets for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health. The HPC will take action against people who do not meet these standards or who use a protected title illegally.


3. HPC currently regulates the following 15 professions. Each of these professions has one or more ‘protected titles’. Anyone who uses one of these titles must register with the HPC. To see the full list of protected titles please see: www.hpc-uk.org/aboutregistration/protectedtitles/

• Arts therapists
• Biomedical scientists
• Chiropodists and podiatrists
• Clinical scientists
• Dietitians
• Hearing aid dispensers
• Occupational therapists
• Operating department practitioners
• Orthoptists
• Paramedics
• Physiotherapists
• Practitioner psychologists
• Prosthetists and orthotists
• Radiographers
• Speech and language therapists

4. For more information visit www.hpc-uk.org . To check whether an individual is registered with the HPC visit www.hpcheck.org.

 

Ebony Gayle
(0)20 7840 9806




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