State registration is to be extended to three groups of healthcare staff - speech and language therapists, clinical scientists and paramedics.

Privy Council approval of the move is expected shortly, following a debate in the House of Lords last week.

Health minister Baroness Hayman presented the case for widening the scope of state registration to a further 20,000 staff.

She said the professions had 'well-prepared cases' to become state registered which commanded wide support and were 'consistent with the government's commitment to strengthening professional regulation'.

Pam Evans, professional director of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, said the decision would strengthen and modernise the profession.

The new groups join 104,000 practitioners from nine registered professions.

Each new group will have a professional board of 15 members which will be charged with keeping a register of practitioners.

Peter Burley, deputy registrar of the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine, welcomed the move.

Quoting from an earlier debate in the House of Commons, he said: 'State registration begins and ends with patients. It is about patients, it is not about professions.'

Chiropractors have two years to sign up to a new statutory register which was launched this week.

The register will be administered by the General Chiropractic Council, which says statutory registration will provide patients with 'a valuable safeguard'.