The NHS employs a range of practitioners working in healthcare. Many of these roles are statutorily regulated – for example doctors, nurses and AHPs – but many others, such as medical illustrators (including clinical photographers), are not. The employment of this workforce therefore requires a keen level of oversight by NHS employers, which is expertly supported through the Accredited Registers programme. NHS Trusts and Health Boards can be assured of the fitness to practise of clinical photographers included on an Accredited AHCS Register, in terms of both qualifications and continuing professional development. These checks are integral to the annual registration process;
Following legislative changes in the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) is responsible for the Accredited Registers Programme, in addition to its scrutiny of the nine statutory healthcare regulators. The programme currently holds 26 accredited registers with a combined total of 85,000 individuals, including the Healthcare Science Register which governs clinical photographers. It is strongly recommended that NHS employers ensure their workforce is appropriately registered and accredited by the PSA.
Professional, qualified and registered clinical photographers can demonstrate that their practice is based upon evidence of efficacy and adheres to national standards. They are qualified to undertake their practice and registration shows that an individual is committed to upholding high professional standards and keeping their knowledge, skills and experience up-to-date through ongoing professional development. This provides an essential level of governance to the NHS in order to protect it from litigation and Data Protection breaches. Whilst other individuals may regard themselves as being technically competent to undertake the clinical recording of patients, there are significant inherent risks in not using registered staff, with the potential to do real harm to patients should things go wrong.
Professional Standards Authority
The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) recommends that only medical illustration practitioners who are regulated on an Accredited Register are employed.
Academy for Healthcare Science
The Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) also recommends that all medical illustrators who are patient-facing are qualified and registered on the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) register which is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). Search the register to check the practising status of a medical illustration practitioner here: www.ahcs.ac.uk/members/member.cfm
Institute of Medical Illustrators
The Institute of Medical Illustrators (IMI) is the professional body for medical illustrators and it too recommends that all medical illustrators who are patient-facing are qualified and registered on the Academy of Healthcare Science (AHCS) register, accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). www.imi.org.uk/resources/for-employers/