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HMRC internal manual

VAT Health

Health Professions Order 2001: Some professions explained

Biomedical scientists: A biomedical scientist analyses specimens from patients to provide data to help doctors diagnose and treat disease.

Chiropody: the examination, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and malfunctions of the foot and its related structures;

Chiropractic: a system of treatment based on the theory that disease is due, at least in part, to abnormal nerve functioning. Instead of relying on drugs and surgery for treatment, chiropractors treat a whole range of disorders by manipulation of the spine. Note - some applicants for the list of chiropractors may be given a “conditional” registration, where detailed conditions must be complied with if registration is to continue. For VAT purposes chiropractors with such conditional registrations will qualify for VAT exemption. Be aware there is greater possibility that in these circumstances the registration will lapse and if it does, exemption will no longer apply;

Dietetics: the application of nutritional science to the maintenance or restoration of health;

Medical laboratory scientific officers: (formerly known as laboratory technicians);

Occupational therapy: treatment aimed at enabling people disabled by physical illness or a serious accident to relearn muscular control and co-ordination, to cope with everyday tasks, such as dressing, and when possible to resume employment. The majority of health services provided by occupational therapists will therefore be exempt as they relate to improving the person’s physical and psychological well-being. However, occupational therapists also supply reports for insurance and litigation purposes. Where these are commissioned by insurance companies, the primary purpose is to identify what is required to assist rehabilitation and recovery and are put in place once insurers have agreed to meet the cost. As such, they are exempt. On the other hand, the primary purpose of reports commissioned by lawyers is to identify the extra costs associated with disability to enable the claim to be valued and such reports will be liable to VAT at the standard-rate;

Operating department practitioners: Operating department practitioners participate in the assessment of the patient prior to surgery and provide individualised care.

Orthoptics: a technique used to measure and evaluate squint, mainly in children. It includes assessment of monocular and binocular vision, eye exercises and measures to combat lazy eye;

Osteopathy: a system of diagnosis and treatment that recognises the role of the musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, tendons, tissues, nerves and spinal column) in the healthy functioning of the human body. It is based on the concept that the human body is a unified organism, in which the musculoskeletal system plays a central role in the patient’s well-being;

Physiotherapy: treatment of disorders or injuries with physical methods or agents;

Radiography: the use of radiation to obtain images of parts of the body. Radiotherapists are included in this register.