What qualifications do you need to start a healthcare business?
If you want to start a business in the healthcare sector, you’ll probably be specialising in either skilled nursing, nursing aide, social work or occupational, physical and speech therapy. These categories require different qualifications, but you will have to comply with the regulations laid down by the UK’s broader compliance bodies. These include the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, General Medical Council and General Dental Council.
Who is providing the care?
When you’re starting up a healthcare business, the first thing you need to establish is who will be providing the care. As the organisation’s founder, will you be taking a strictly managerial role or tending to the needs of your clients on your own or alongside other employees? Your decision will have an impact on the qualifications you’ll need to earn.
If you’re not providing care, you will, of course, need to concentrate on hiring the best medical staff you can – and ensuring they possess the necessary qualifications. It goes without saying that they should also have experience in the field in which they are working. The amount of expertise you should develop in your workforce should depend upon the type of care you plan on offering; a dental practice will demand more than a massage parlour, for example.
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Setting up a care agency
As we’ve established, different healthcare businesses require different qualifications, but let’s take a care agency as our example. This type of company could provide anything from regular check-ups, companionship, help with certain activities or live-in care – and even within this business, the ideal qualifications differ slightly. However, we’ll take a general look.
First of all, you should designate a registered manager. This is someone who monitors day-to-day operations and ensures that the business complies with industry regulations. You could take on the role yourself or employ a dedicated registered manager.
To fill this role, you will need one of the following:
- QCF Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care (either in Management of Adult Services or Management of Adult Residential Services)
- Registered Manager’s Award (RMA)
- NVQ Level 4 in Leadership and Management for Care Services
Although the final two are not run anymore, they are still accepted by the CQC, so if you’ve already got one, you won’t need to pursue alternative qualifications. However, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you have the right skills to do the job. This means you may have to have an additional nursing or health and social care certificate.
If you don’t have any of these three qualifications, you can enrol onto the QCF diploma and complete it within two years. It is beneficial to take this course, regardless of your role in the business, as the CQC takes your relevant qualifications and experience into account when you register the business. Therefore, not having it could be detrimental to the set-up process.
Anyone that is providing care must also have done Common Induction Standards (CIS) training, a scheme that is relevant to anyone that wants to work in the adult social care sector. There are also a range of different healthcare courses provided by various organisations. For example, The Mandatory Compliance Group offers statutory and mandatory training programmes for doctors, nurses, allied health professionals (AHPs) and health and social care support workers. Its courses include ‘Adult Social Care’, ‘Disability Awareness’, ‘Corporate Governance’ and ‘Soft Skills Development’.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the broad category of care agencies, we’ll explore a few other types of businesses.
The first thing you’ll need to do is earn a degree or equivalent level qualification in physiotherapy. Then, you’ll need to gain experience, before you register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
To start your own dentistry business, you’ll need to achieve good A Level grades in science maths subjects, as well as an industry-recognised degree in dentistry. This will probably take the form of a BDS or BChD. As part of your training, you should spend at least five years in a specialised dental school and another one or two years of supervised practice. After this, you should register with the General Dental Council before you can practise as a dentist.
Massage therapy business
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need a formal qualification to start your own massage business. However, your business is likely to attract more clients if you do have impressive credentials.
You could opt to take an ITEC (Level 3 RQF) Diploma in a specific massage style, or the more advanced BTEC Level 6 Professional Diploma, which is a degree-level course. You could even complete a massage degree at a university. At Cardiff University, for example, you could take BSc (Hons) Sport Conditioning, Rehabilitation and Massage.
Setting up your business
No matter the type of business you aim to start, you should identify its legal requirements before you initiate the set-up process. By aiming to comply with industry regulations as soon as possible, you can eliminate problems that may cost a significant amount of time and money further down the line.
One of the most important things you need to do is register with the CQC. If your business is based in Wales, you should instead register with The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW). If you’re in Scotland, this will be The Care Inspectorate. If you fail to do this, you will be in breach of the law, as stated in the Health and Social Care Act.
Before you start welcoming clients, you’ll also need to obtain a business licence from your local authority. But remember that every business is different, so gaining a university degree, undertaking relevant experience, registering with the CQC and getting a business licence may not be enough. For this reason, make sure you carry out sufficient research to ensure you are complying with all industry regulations.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©
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