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DH launches Pilot Scheme of the Accredited Registers for Healthcare Professions
     The Department of Health (DH) today (December 29) launched the Pilot Scheme of the Accredited Registers for Healthcare Professions and invited applications from eligible healthcare professional bodies for accreditation.

     Under the principle of professional autonomy, the Pilot Scheme aims to enhance the existing society-based registration arrangements of healthcare professions currently not subject to statutory regulation with a view to ensuring the professional competency of healthcare personnel and providing more information for the public to make informed decisions.

     The Pilot Scheme covers 15 non-statutorily regulated healthcare professions within the Health Services functional constituency of the Legislative Council and they are: audiologists, audiology technicians, chiropodists/podiatrists, clinical psychologists, dental surgery assistants, dental technicians/technologists, dental therapists, dietitians, dispensers, educational psychologists, mould laboratory technicians, orthoptists, prosthetists/orthotists, scientific officers (medical) and speech therapists. These 15 healthcare professions could, based on their individual circumstances, decide on whether to join the Pilot Scheme. If healthcare professions other than the above-mentioned are interested in joining the Pilot Scheme, their applications would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

     The Pilot Scheme will operate under the principle of "one profession, one professional body, one register" to avoid public confusion. The DH has appointed the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) as an independent Accreditation Agent of the Pilot Scheme. With reference to relevant international experience, CUHK has formulated the accreditation framework, procedures and standards of the Scheme.

     The Accreditation Agent will accredit the professional body meeting the prescribed standards for each profession under the Pilot Scheme and the accredited professional body shall be responsible for administering the register of its own profession. The accreditation standards include governance, operational effectiveness, risk management and quality improvement, standards for registrants, educational and training requirements, and management of the register of the professional body. These standards aim to safeguard public health by ensuring the governance of the professional bodies and professional competency of their members.

     Accredited professional bodies will be permitted to use an Accreditation Mark on their websites and Certificates of Registration issued to their members for the public's easy identification. Members of the accredited professional bodies can also use a specific title on their name cards. The public can look up the registers of healthcare professionals through the accredited bodies.

     "Professional bodies applying for the Pilot Scheme should demonstrate a broad representation of their profession and maintain well-established operation, including bodies set up upon restructuring or merging of associations/societies of the profession. The core functions of the professional bodies should include setting standards, registration, and professional education and development," a spokesman for the DH said.

     CUHK will issue letters today to invite the relevant healthcare professions to apply for the Pilot Scheme on a voluntary basis by February 17, 2017. The Accreditation Agent will then go through a due accreditation assessment and submit accreditation results for the DH's consideration by the third quarter of 2017 and accreditation results are expected to be announced by the end of 2017.

     Healthcare professionals and members of the public may visit the DH's and CUHK's webpage for more information.
Ends/Thursday, December 29, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:50
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