CAMIP is the national voluntary register of medical illustration practitioners in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It was set up to regulate medical photographers, artists, designers and videographers in anticipation of the introduction of statutory regulation for the profession of medical illustration. Despite some major setbacks in recent years, CAMIP continues to operate the register of appropriately qualified medical illustrators. It continues to pursue its aim of protecting the public and ensuring that the Department of Health, NHS Trusts and other employers recognise the importance of professional standards of practice for this group of professionals.
“If I am a patient I don’t want to have to worry whether the care is up to scratch as well as having the natural worries that go with the illness in the first place. And I don’t expect that my relatives should have those either, on my behalf”
Sir Donald Irvine, Chairman of the Picker Institute Europe
Why regulate the medical illustration professions?
The purpose of regulation is to be able to assure the public that the people providing services in healthcare are safe, appropriately trained and fit to practise. Medical illustrators who are registered with CAMIP are demonstrating a commitment to providing good service or care.
Unlike in the past, when it was assumed that ‘Doctors know best’, patients are now much more involved in making choices about their treatment. To do this they need high quality, accurate information from a source they can trust. Graphic designers in healthcare are expert in patient information design as well as meeting the increasingly complex communication needs of medical professionals. Working with patient images, which can sometimes be of a very personal nature, all medical illustrators have a special responsibility to safeguard them and ensure that they are used only with the patient’s full consent.
Objective, comparative photography is an essential aid to diagnosis and the progress of treatment. A clinical photographer, videographer or medical artist working in close proximity to patients in a medical or surgical environment should be knowledgeable about infection control, sensitive to each patient’s individual needs and trained in the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. They should be skilled in the techniques for making accurate clinical records for the assessment of disease and treatment. These roles require a high degree of professionalism and patients deserve to know that those carrying out this work meet the high standards they would expect.
Any Qualified Provider database
The Department of Health recognises the need for hospitals and other healthcare providers to have a means of checking that any health professional they employ is on an accredited register. Their Any Qualified Provide database will be used by commissioners in England to ensure that AQPs must use health professionals on an accredited register. This will ensure that the protection that patients get from the regulation of professionals within the NHS is extended to those professionals who are employed outside the NHS, but doing NHS work.
Regulation Update – May 2012
In 2004 the Health Professions Council approved Statutory Registration for Clinical Photographers, but not for other medical illustration disciplines. At that time it seemed that the biggest hurdle had been overcome on the road to regulation of our profession. All that was needed was for the legislation to go through Parliament. Since then, medical illustrators have had an extremely frustrating journey and, following the election of the Coalition Government in May 2010 and publication of the command paper, ‘Enabling Excellence’, it no longer seems likely that the HPC will be able to open a register of any of the medical illustration disciplines.
The Command Paper, whose full title is ‘Enabling Excellence: Autonomy and Accountability for Healthcare Workers, Social Workers and Social Care Workers’, stated:
"For the overwhelming majority of occupational and professional groups which are not currently subject to statutory regulation and which are generally not considered to present a high level of risk to the public, but where recommendations that regulation should be introduced have been made (including those groups recommended by the HPC for statutory regulation in the past, but not yet registered), the assumption will be that assured voluntary registration would be the preferred option."
Enabling Excellence – Department of Health Command paper
In response to direct enquiries, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health stated that The Health and Social Care Bill provides for the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) to quality assure voluntary registers of unregulated health and social care workers. The CHRE have since planned for the introduction of new Assured Voluntary Registers:
“From December 2012 we are planning to set standards for organisations that hold voluntary registers for practitioners who are involved in providing health and social care for people in a variety of different ways but who do not, by law, have to be on a statutory register.
“Organisations will be able to ask us to assess whether they meet our standards and we shall accredit (or approve) those that do. We shall publish the result on our website and let them use a symbol on their information for the public. They will then be known as an assured (or approved) register. The organisations will continue to hold and manage their own registers.
“This means that employers, commissioners and members of the public will be able to choose to use people in health and social care who are on a register of an organisation that has been assessed by us and approved. They can be confident that the organisations holding these registers will be carefully checking practitioners before letting them register, ensuring that they continue to meet good standards of practice and conduct, and removing those who do not.”
According to the CHRE, the scheme is open to applications from organisations that hold registers for practitioners:
Who practise a defined discipline (or related disciplines) within health and social care, which requires a specific body of knowledge, accredited training and the acquisition of particular skills; and
Meet the Authority’s standards including governance, management of its register and criteria for registrants.
Our major focus now is to make sure that CAMIP itself meets all the criteria for an Accredited Register under the governance of the CHRE. Although they have not yet been published in their final form we have a very good indication of what we will be required to do, both through our conversations with the CHRE and from their published discussion papers, which can be viewed and downloaded from their website. In this respect, the work that we did to ensure that we were fit for HPC membership will not be wasted.
In the meantime, all practising medical illustrators in the UK should ensure their own registration when the Accredited Register opens, by maintaining their registration with CAMIP.
For those who are professional members of MAA, BIPP or IMI, as long as you continue your membership, we will keep your name on the Register. You do not need to do anything else until we know the outcome of our talks with the CHRE.
For those who are not professional members of either of those bodies and who are not individual members of the CAMIP voluntary register, this CAMIP website has all the necessary information about joining.
If you have any queries that are not already answered on this website, please email them to the CAMIP Registrar, Angus Robertson