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UK healthcare regulators

Who are we and what do we do
The General Optical Council is one of 13 organisations in the UK known as health and social care regulators. We each oversee the health and social care professions by regulating individual professionals.

Each regulator was set up to protect the public so that whenever you see a health or social care professional, you can be sure they meet certain standards.

Who is registered?
Anyone wishing to practise one of the regulated professions must register with the relevant regulator. If they do not, they are breaking the law and can be prosecuted.

Because regulation is so important to standards of treatment and care, the registers for each profession are open to the public. If you want to check a health or social care professional is registered, visit the individual regulator’s website or call them.

The 13 UK regulatory bodies
General Chiropractic Council (GCC)
T: 020 7713 5155

General Dental Council (GDC)
Dentists and dental therapists, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists
T: 020 7887 3800

General Medical Council (GMC)
T: 0845 357 3456

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses
T: 020 7637 7181 

General Optical Council (GOC)
Opticians (optometrists and dispensing opticians)
T: 020 7580 3898

General Osteopathic Council (GOsC)
T: 020 7357 6655 

General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) 
Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises
T: 020 3365 3400  

Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
Pharmacists in Northern Ireland
T: 028 9032 6927

Social Care Wales
Social care workforce, qualified social workers, child care managers/workers, adult residential managers/care workers, domiciliary care managers/workers and social work students on approved degree courses in Wales
T: 0300 303 3444

Northern Ireland Social Care Council
Social care workforce (Northern Ireland), qualified social workers, team leaders and all care staff in residential childcare, heads of residential homes, heads of day care facilities and social work students
T: 028 9041 7600

Scottish Social Services Council
Social care workforce (Scotland), qualified social workers, care commission officers, residential child care workers and social work students
T: 0845 6030 891

Health and Care Professions Council
Arts therapists, biomedical scientists, chiropodists/ podiatrists, clinical scientists, dieticians, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, prosthetists and orthotists, radiographers, speech and language therapists
T: 020 7582 0866


Social Work England
​Social workers
T: 0808 1962 274


Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care ( PSA ) 
The aim of the PSA (formerly CHRE) is to protect the public, promote best practice and progress excellence in relation to the regulation of healthcare professionals. They oversee nine of the UK healthcare regulators. For more information, visit or call 020 7389 8030.

Joint working
Where possible, we work with our fellow healthcare regulators to achieve common goals. For example, we are a member of the Learning Circle on Patient and Public Engagement, as well as the Alliance of UK Healthcare Regulators on Europe (AURE). You can read more about AURE at


Content Panels

Search our registers

Search our registers

Find a registered individual practitioner or business.


Information about our upcoming fitness to practise hearings.

Our Council

Our Council

The General Optical Council is composed of 12 members

Working for us

Working for us

Healthcare regulation in the UK is currently undergoing reform and modernisation – so this is an exciting time to join us.