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Last Updated: Friday, 29 September 2006, 01:55 GMT 02:55 UK
Warning over health professionals
People are putting their health at risk by visiting specialists without first checking if they are qualified, an independent watchdog has warned.

The Health Professions Council (HPC) said a survey showed seven out of 10 patients in Birmingham received medical treatment without making any checks.

In contrast, less than one in 10 people said they would let an unqualified gas engineer carry out repairs.

The HPC registers those working in 13 health-related professions.

They include dieticians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists.

Marc Seale, HPC chief executive, said: "Most of us wouldn't let an unqualified electrician loose in our house, yet around two million adults in Birmingham haven't taken the time to check whether the specialists treating their health issues are qualified."

The HPC urged people who are heading direct to health professionals, without being referred by a doctor, to check their website database of registered practitioners.

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