Quality in Primary Care Open Access

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Is there a need for professional regulation for primary care mental health workers?

Soo Lee

Primary care mental health (PCMH) workers need not have a professional qualification. The development of the role of these workers highlights the influence of a number of factors that provide a framework that offers assurance of the protection of the public and the promotion of quality of care.Factors such as legislation, codes of practice, stringent recruitment procedures, clinical supervision, employing evidence-based practice, and training all play an equal part in determining safe and good practice. Together, these factors formulate standards of practice which limit the need for professional regulation.The training of PCMH workers is guided by a national curriculumand other requirements. Practice of these workers is governed by various legislative frameworks and guidance. The requirement for clinical supervision for PCMH workers is a crucial element in promoting safe and effective care. In addition, stringent recruitment procedures ensure unsuitable candidates are not selected for the positions. This paper argues that professional regulation is not needed as there are other systems with similar significance that promote quality of care and can offer protection to the public.