Clause 13 — Regulation of the health professions

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:04 pm on 7th March 2011.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture and Sport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution) 9:04 pm, 7th March 2011

I am really pleased that the hon. Gentleman has asked that, because that is one of the things that I am most keen to come on to. If he is not satisfied by what I say, I ask him to come back on me, because I will list some very important professions that receive regulation from Scottish Ministers.

The most important point is that we have the toehold that I have described. All the UK devolved Administrations work together on these important issues to find innovative practices and new ways of doing things. That is important work. The current arrangements support and create dialogue and the sharing of ideas in reserved and devolved areas.

I come to the examples that the hon. Gentleman is so keen to hear about. The first is practitioner psychologists. The Department of Health originally wanted all such professionals to be educated to doctorate level. That would have posed major problems for the NHS in Scotland, where the majority of them are trained to masters level. That is why we need separate regulation. NHS Scotland has also piloted the position of physician assistant, which is an assistant to medical practitioners. Unlike their equivalents in England, such people can prescribe and work across a variety of roles in the Scottish NHS. Those are not the only two examples. Health care scientists were identified as a priority for regulation in the 2007 White Paper, in which the Department of Health proposed that the new education and training arrangements envisaged for England should also apply in Scotland, where there are different needs and a different educational system. Perhaps it has escaped the hon. Gentleman that as well as having an NHS in Scotland, we also have our own devolved education service. The training of many such professionals requires different regulation and different standards.