Q: What is the Register of Clinical Technologists (RCT)?
A: The RCT is an accredited register of clinical technologists working in health and care occupations, originally established in 2000, which aims to protect the public by setting standards for the training, continued learning and conduct of people on the register.
Q: What is an accredited register?
A: Accredited registers are a new approach to regulation recently established by government in preference to statutory registers. In 2012 the Health and Social Care Act extended the role of the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to include accrediting registers of people working in health and care occupations not regulated by statute.
In order to obtain accreditation an organisation must show they have met the PSA’s specific, demanding standards by means of a rigorous application process. The areas that the PSA standards cover relate to governance, setting standards for registrants (including education and training) and managing the register. Organisations are then re-accredited each year provided they can show they are still meeting the PSA standards.
The PSA makes sure that organisations holding accredited registers manage the registers well and follow good practice whilst the organisation holding the accredited register makes sure their registrants meet their standards and will take action if they do not.
Q: Who are clinical technologists?
A: Clinical technologists are healthcare scientists who work in NHS hospitals, private health care, academic institutions and the medical device industry. Clinical technology is concerned with the practical application of physics, engineering and technology to clinical practice. These are applied to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human disease and maintaining and improving the quality of life.
Q: Why are clinical technologists on a register?
A: Clinical technologists perform invasive procedures on patients, make clinical interventions or exercise judgment that can substantially impact on patient health or welfare. The RCT sets standards for the training, continued learning and conduct of clinical technologists who apply to join the register which should ensure that their patients receive safe, high quality care.
Q: Do clinical technologists have to be on this register?
A: No. The RCT is not a statutory register so clinical technologists do not have to join it, however, those clinical technologists who make a successful application to join the accredited RCT are demonstrating a commitment to their area of work and to becoming part of a professional community working to high standards and practices.
Q: How does the RCT protect the public?
A: Due to the nature of the work carried out by clinical technologists the public will want to be assured that these individuals have been fully trained, assessed and that their skills are regularly updated. The RCT sets the standard for clinical technologist training and conduct and requires its registrants to continue to meet these standards throughout their working life. The RCT aims to protect the public by maintaining high standards of practice amongst its registrants via processes including:
- a formal application process to join the register assessed against a strict set of criteria;
- successful completion of an agreed training scheme or by demonstrating equivalence;
- scope of practice statements describing the attributes that would be expected from a newly qualified clinical technologist or practitioner at the point of registration;
- a code of professional conduct which registrants must work to;
- participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities which are randomly audited each year; and
- public declaration of registration by appearing on the RCT searchable register.
Q: What are the education and training standards for accredited RCT registrants?
A: Entry to the accredited RCT is through a formal application process which is assessed against a strict set of criteria. Each applicant must demonstrate that they meet the standards by successfully completing an agreed training scheme (the ‘primary route’) or by demonstrating equivalence (the ‘equivalence route’). The standards for entry via the primary route are contained in the Scope of Practice which lists the specialised tasks which the technologist must be competent to carry out. The RCT currently has two approved training scheme providers, namely, the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) and the Association of Renal Technologists (ART). The RCT also recognises the Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC) Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) as a route to registration. For up to date MSC accredited courses and information, click here. The standards for entry via the equivalence route are contained in The RCT Equivalence Standards – Engineering or The RCT Equivalence Standards – Physics together with Good Scientific Practice.
Q: If I achieve registration, what do I have to do to remain on the register?
A: After you have demonstrated equivalence and been admitted to the register you must work within your scope of practice whilst abiding by our professional code of conduct and maintaining your knowledge and competence through continuing professional development. Guidance on the code and what constitutes suitable CPD can be found on our website. It is important that you are aware of your duty to complete and maintain a record of your CPD as you may be selected to participate in the RCT’s annual audit process. Failure to submit a CPD record when requested may result in suspension or removal from the Register.
Q: If I have left the register, am I allowed to re-join?
If you left the register in good standing and not due a disciplinary then you may be eligible to re-join. Registrants who have chosen to resign, or have let their registration lapse will need to complete a full application to re-join. During the application process, your reasons for leaving will be checked in addition to ensuring you meet the current entry requirements. You will need to be aware that these requirements may have changed and applicants who joined through the grandparenting provision in the early days of the register, may now be required to complete a full equivalence application to re-join.
Q: How do I know if someone involved in my care is on the RCT?
A: You can look up any individual by name through the searchable online register on this website. If you can’t use the online register you may ring the RCT administrator on 01904 550500 with the name of the person you want to check and the administrator will undertake the search for you.
Q: I have a complaint about someone on the register – where do I take it?
A: Full information on how to make a complaint is on the RCT website here: how to complain. We take all complaints seriously and they will be dealt with in accordance with the appropriate complaints handling procedure depending on the nature of the complaint. All complainants will be offered help and support throughout the process.