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Making a complaint

Professional misconduct

If you think an NHS practitioner or social services employee has been guilty of professional misconduct, then you can complain using the NHS complaints procedure or ,for social care matters, contact your local council. However, you can also contact the relevant regulatory body.

Examples of professional misconduct include:

  • practitioners who have a sexual relationship with a patient,
  • practitioners who claim that they're competent to practise but are not,
  • practitioners who falsely claim that they're qualified to practise,
  • breaching confidentiality, and
  • manipulating patient's medical records.  

Professional regulators

The purpose of the professional regulators is to protect and promote the safety of the public. They do this by setting standards of behaviour, education and ethics that health professionals must meet. They deal with concerns about professionals who are unfit to practise due to poor health, misconduct or poor performance. Regulators register health professionals who are fit to practise in the UK, and can remove a professional from the register and stop them from practising if it's in the interests of public safety.

Healthcare regulators

The healthcare professional regulators in England are:

For information about how these bodies are regulated and assessed visit the Professionals Standards Authority website.

Social care regulator

Until 1 August 2012, social workers in England were regulated by the General Social Care Council (GSCC). This task has now been transferred to the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). The HCPC has codes of practice and training standards that professionals have to meet before they can register. Action may be taken against any registrant that does not meet the HCPC standards, including stopping them from practising. This means that if you are unhappy with the care or services you are given, or worried about the behaviour or health of a registrant, you can always raise your concerns with the HCPC.

Page last reviewed: 03/07/2014

Next review due: 03/07/2016


Learn about the watchdogs that monitor the NHS and other public healthcare providers

Equality and diversity in the NHS

Find out about the Equality Act 2010. The new laws give the NHS opportunities to work towards eliminating discrimination and reducing inequalities in care