Sonographer Regulation

Information on Sonographer Regulation in the UK

Regulatory bodies
A Regulatory Body maintains a register of individuals who have achieved the required qualification of that profession to practice and can evidence continuing competence at the required level. For a doctor to practice in the UK, he or she must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). This is the regulatory body for medical practitioners. 

The majority of sonographers who are employed in the UK come from a background of radiography or midwifery. To practice radiography in the UK a qualified radiographer must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Similarly a midwife must be registered with the National Midwifery Council to practice as a midwife.

Sonographer registration in the U.K.
There are a number of professions allied to medicine that are regulated by the HCPC, for example radiography, physiotherapy. However, sonography is not recognised as a profession by the HCPC and therefore there is no mechanism whereby an individual can register with the HCPC as a sonographer or be regulated by them as a sonographer. It is a common misunderstanding that sonographers have to be registered with the HCPC to practice. This comes from the fact that most sonographers are also qualified radiographers and maintain their registration with the HPC because they wish to remain on the HPC register as a radiographer.

The College of Radiographers administers a Voluntary Register of Sonographers.

Professional bodies
An individual can be a member of a Professional Body, such as the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (RCOG), Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), Society & College of Radiographers (SCoR) or the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) but this is not the same as being accepted onto the register of one of the regulatory bodies. The professional bodies are responsible for setting and maintaining the standards of their members, providing a code of conduct etc. They may also act in the capacity of a trades union and can also provide professional indemnity insurance.

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