Independent doctor and clinic services

Page last updated: 12 May 2022

We define independent healthcare services as health care provided by organisations that are not NHS trusts or NHS GP services (that is, private sector services).

This guidance explains how we inspect the following independent doctor and clinic services:

  • Private GP services, including medical agencies that visit people in their home or other places where they are staying (such as hotels or care homes) and non-NHS primary medical type services.
  • Medical practitioners providing consultation and/or treatment. These practitioners should be on the specialist register of the General Medical Council. The care and treatment provided will usually be the same or similar to outpatient consultation and treatment services in an acute, community or mental health hospital. Care and treatment could also include minor cosmetic procedures and minor surgical procedures provided in a treatment room.
  • Vaccination clinics (it is possible that some of these services may not be provided by an independent doctor) - this does not include COVID-19 vaccination clinics. If travel or other vaccination is the main purpose of the service, we regulate services under this approach.
  • Slimming clinics where the main regulated activity of the clinic is to provide advice or treatment by, or under the supervision of, a medical practitioner, including prescribing medicines for weight reduction.
  • Weight management where this is provided by someone on the Health Care Professional (HCP) register, but who is not a medical practitioner. For example, a nurse.
  • Vasectomy carried out under local anaesthesia.
  • Endoscopy restricted to nasopharyngoscopy, colposcopy and use of auroscope etc.
  • Health screening.
  • Circumcision carried out by a medical practitioner.
  • Gynaecology, dermatology, cardiology or other healthcare or diagnostic service that does not involve any treatment that falls under the acute hospital or single specialty category. (Where we refer to single specialty we mean where the sole or main purpose of the service is to provide the speciality we have specified, for example, termination of pregnancy or dialysis).
  • Family planning services involving the insertion or removal of an intrauterine contraceptive device carried out by, or under the supervision of, a healthcare professional. The main purpose of the service must be the regulated activity of family planning services.

Read our separate guidance on how we regulate the following types of service: