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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, with intent to deceive, they use a protected title and are not registered with us. It is also an offence to imply that you are a member of one of the professions that we regulate. An example of this would be a person who claims to provide chiropody services when they are not registered with us as a chiropodist and podiatrist

Assistants, students and trainees
A person is unlikely to be committing an offence if they use a protected title with a prefix which clearly indicates that they are not fully qualified, such as - ‘trainee’ or ‘student’. By using a prefix of this kind there is no intention to deceive.

Other uses of titles
Use a protected title with a prefix which clearly indicates that a person does not treat people, such as such as ‘animal’, ‘equine’ or ‘veterinary’ is also unlikely to be an offence.

It is not an offence for an unregistered person to own or operate a business that provides services which are performed by HCPC registered practitioners, such as a podiatry or physiotherapy clinic, provided those services are provided by HCPC registrants.

An individual does not commit an offence if, without their knowledge or agreement, another person or organisation describes the individual using a protected title. For example, a newspaper article or a website link may incorrectly identify the individual as a registered professional without any intention to deceive on the part of the individual concerned. In some circumstances we will take steps to ensure that the situation does not recur.

A person who makes false claims about another individual would be committing an offence if they knew the information was incorrect and did so with the intention to deceive.

How to make a complaint
If you want to make a complaint about the misuse of titles this must be done in writing. We will need evidence to show that an offence being committed and this might be a brochure, leaflet or advertisement, a business card, invoice or letterhead or a directory entry or website. We will usually require a name and a contact details for the individual in order to be able to pursue the matter. You should include all relevant evidence with your complaint. Please send it to:

Fitness to Practise Department
Health and Care Professions Council
Park House
184 Kennington Park Road
SE11 4BU

What we do
Our aim is to ensure ongoing compliance with the law. When we receive information that a protected title is potentially being misused, we contact the person or organisation concerned, explain the law and inform them that they should not use the title unless they are entitled to do so. Where there is evidence to show that an offence is being committed we will send a ‘cease and desist’ notice which sets out what action we will take if the person continues break the law. We may prosecute anyone who continues to misuse a protected title and, on conviction, they are liable to a fine of up to £5000.

We have been working closely with organisations such as directory publishers to ensure that only HCPC registered professionals are allowed to advertise in the relevant sections of directories.

Further information
If you need any more information, please contact our Fitness to Practise Department.
Phone: 020 7840 9814
Fax: 020 7582 4874
Email: ftp@hcpc-uk.org

Related Documents
FTP Service Standards - Protection of titleAdobe PDF Document27kb
Company and business namesMicrosoft Word Document283kb
Prosecutions Policy (Protection of Title)Adobe PDF Document188kb
Factsheet - Protecting titlesAdobe PDF Document58kb

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