Scotland: licensing & registration

Health Improvement Scotland

Some regulated health professionals practicing in independent clinics in Scotland, see definition below, are now required to register with Health Improvement Scotland if they carry out acupuncture – it is deemed invasive as the skin is being pierced.

Independent clinics are defined in the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 as clinics that are not part of a hospital and from which a medical practitioner, dental practitioner, registered nurse, registered midwife or dental care professional (clinical dental technician, dental hygienist, dental nurse, dental technician, dental therapist, orthodontic therapist) provides a service, which is not part of the National Health Service. The term 'service' includes consultations, investigations and treatments.

Click here to find out more about Health Improvement Scotland's licensing requirements

Local Authority Licensing

Legislation came into effect on 1st April 2006 in Scotland requiring acupuncturists to be licensed by their local authority.  If you are practising acupuncture within an independent clinic or hospital and are not one of the professions above, you will need to have the premises where you practice licensed by the local authority. 

Click here to find out more about Scottish local authority legislation.

According to this legislation health professionals regulated by statute are exempt from Scottish local authority regulation provided they are are subject to regulation by any of the following:

General Chiropractic Council (GCC); General Dental Council (GDC); General Medical Council (GMC); General Optical Council (GOC); General Osteopathic Council (GOsC); Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC); Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC); Pharmaceutical Council of Northern Ireland (PCNI); General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).