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Without mandatory regulation, clinical physiologists put patients at risk

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 13 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:g7860
  1. Amanda Casey, chair, Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS14 9DZ
  1. a.e.a.casey{at}

The professionals who maintain medical devices are unregulated, meaning that investigation of potential malpractice may never occur and that anyone can use the title “clinical physiologist.” Amanda Casey calls for statutory regulation

If a patient had a chronic condition and died because the healthcare professional responsible for maintaining his or her medical device didn’t see the patient soon enough, wouldn’t it fall into the category of a “never” event? What about if a patient was put at risk because his or her tests were carried out incorrectly or because the results were misread? This would surely be classed as another never event.

Malpractice that we never hear about

By definition, never events shouldn’t happen in the NHS—ever. But the two scenarios above fall into a different category of never events: they represent catastrophic failings in care but indicate malpractice that we would never hear about. That might sound unbelievable, but it’s a reality for thousands of healthcare practitioners working in the NHS today.

“Clinical physiologist” is the job title used to describe about 6000 healthcare scientists who work in audiology, cardiac physiology, gastrointestinal physiology, neurophysiology, …

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