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Advice for current registrants

In light of the latest Government advice, we will be reviewing these pages
Please keep checking the hub for the latest advice

We recognise that these are challenging times for healthcare professionals.

Many of our registrants are being asked to approach the provision of care in very different ways, work in new environments, and change their scope of practice.

We are doing all we can to help by developing the information and support we provide and will be providing clear guidance against the standards as soon as possible.

This will include areas such as approach to care, communication, scope of practice, delegation and supervision, data protection, infection control and personal protective equipment and raising concerns.

We will keep our information and support up-to-date, and are working with other stakeholders to ensure they do so too. 

Infection prevention and control

  • Registrants should follow the latest advice issued by Government about when self-isolation may be required. If you suspect that you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should seek advice from NHS 111.

    You should also speak to your employer, to see if there are any local policies in place you need to follow.

  • We are sorry to hear you’ve experienced these challenges. As your regulator, we are encouraging all registrants to follow Government advice and therefore self-isolate if required in order to protect their health.

    We are aware of a number of registrants in a similar situation to yourself. We are currently looking into what we can do, within our regulatory remit and will publish further information to our website as it becomes available

    In the meantime, you may want to speak to your professional body and / or trade union if a member. You can find a list of professional bodies on our website here

    You may also want to speak to an employment advice service like ACAS or seek advice directly from your employer's HR team.

  • The Government has recently issued advice and support on the points you have raised:

    Government support for workers

    Government protection for renters

    Government advice for those with mortgages

     

  • The HCPC is unable to recommend personal protective equipment to registrants.

    The NHS and UK Governments have published guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) available below:

    In particular, the following guidance is issued on personal protective equipment

  • If you are undertaking home visits, we encourage you to follow the latest Government advice, and therefore practice social distancing as much as possible.

    In providing care and treatment that will involve a lot of close physical contact, you need to do all you can to minimise risk to yourself and colleagues.

    To do this, we advise you to weigh up the risks to yourself and colleagues by providing that care and treatment against the risks to the service user if that care and treatment is not provided.

    In particular, you should consider the health implications of not providing treatment to that service user, and the potential burden that may place on other services in the health and care sector if untreated.

    It may be that some treatment can be postponed, or alternatives put in place in the short term (such as by signposting to online resources or exercises, or providing consultations virtually).

    Of course, this won’t necessarily be possible for all types of care or treatment, but where this is an option we would encourage you to do so. This would then mean that you are focusing only on ‘essential’ care and treatment – and minimising the risk to yourself and others.

    In addition to this, you should follow all the Government advice regarding hand washing and hygiene to maintain a safe practice environment. You should also ensure you follow the advice around self-isolating if you develop symptoms.

    We have guidance on providing online services on our website that may be of interest:

    If you do visit someone in their home, you should make sure you explain your approach to infection control and personal protective equipment at the earliest opportunity. You can find further information on infection control here. 

    You should record any decision to continue to provide care/treatment in the home, noting down the discussions you have had, and confirming you gained informed consent to proceed.

    You can find further advice and support about the approach you should take to home visits by visiting your professional body’s website. You can find details of the professional bodies for our registrants here

  • We expect registrants to follow the Government’s advice. Government is constantly updating their guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak and what impact this has on travel.

    You should consult this before your trip, as you may be advised to cancel your plans or take certain steps on your return. This may include self-isolating for a period of time.

    If you are employed, you should also want to speak to your employer to see if they have any guidance. You should notify your employer as soon as possible if you need to self-isolate, so that appropriate measures can be put in place for the service users under your care.

    If you are self-employed and need to self-isolate, you will need to communicate this to service users and direct them to other sources of care and treatment where required.

    If you need to hand over the care and treatment of a service user to a colleague, you must share relevant information as appropriate.

  • We are acutely aware of the issues our registrants are facing with regard to PPE shortages, and so have provided guidance in how they should approach this issue in our Managing risk: infection control information sheet.

    In summary, this information recognises the challenging circumstances, highlights current guidance on PPE, affirms the role of the employer in providing appropriate PPE, and supports registrants in making professional judgements to protect themselves and the wider service user population.

    The information also sets out that, should any concerns be raised about your practice (which could include refusal to practice because of a lack of PPE) we will take account of:

    • The circumstances and context you were working in;
    • any steps you took to raise your concerns; and
    • relevant resource, guidelines and protocols in place at the time.

    This position is set out in the joint statement from Chief Executives of statutory regulators of health and care professionals

  • Service user safety should be your primary concern, and so we expect you to prioritise treatment.

    Notwithstanding this, if the PPE available is not the appropriate standard or in short supply, you may need to make changes to the manner and/or frequency with which you provide treatment.

    If the risks of treating a service user is too high you should raise your concern with your employer, escalating where necessary. You should keep a clear record of your decision, outlining the reasons for that decision.

  • The circumstances leading to any decision to refuse to treat a service user will vary greatly. It is for you to consider the specific circumstances you face and use your professional judgement to determine and appropriate approach.

    Should any concerns be raised about your practice in this regard, we will take account of:

    • the circumstances and context you were working in;
    • any steps you took to raise your concerns; and
    • relevant resource, guidelines and protocols in place at the time.

    This is why it is vital you keep a contemporaneous record of your decision making.

Read about the factors to consider in applying the standards of conduct performance and ethics

Changes to your practice due to COVID-19

  • We expect registrants to work within the limits of their skills, knowledge and experience at all times. Therefore, if your employer asks you to move into a new area or role, we would expect you to receive training and / or support to ensure you are still able to practise safely and effectively.

    However in an emergency scenario, such as COVID-19, we recognise that this might not always be possible. All our standards need to be read in the round. How to meet them, and what is and is not appropriate, will depend on the full circumstances of an individual’s practice. We recognise that working in a pandemic may give rise to particular challenges that are uncommon in your everyday practise. We would still expect you to use your professional judgement to assess what is safe and effective practise in the context in which you are working during the pandemic.

    If you have any concerns, you should speak to your employer and professional body (if a member). You can also seek advice from our Policy team by emailing policy@hcpc-uk.org.

  • Our standards are intended to be flexible, and so should be read with the current circumstances in mind. This might mean the scope of practice of our registrant’s moves away from traditional roles. However, we would still expect registrants to operate within the limits of their skills, knowledge and experience and minimise risks to service users.

    If you have concerns about the level of training you are receiving, we would strongly recommend raising this with your employer. We recognise that right now it must be particularly challenging, but we would encourage, wherever possible, that registrants are given as much support and training as practicable in the circumstances to ensure they are still able to practise safely and effectively.

    We recommend you get in touch with your professional body / trade union, who will be able to offer profession specific advice relating to your scope of practice and how to raise concerns with your employer. You can find a list of professional bodies on our website here.

    We are currently in conversations with colleagues at the NHS, and will update our website with further information as it becomes available: https://www.hcpc-uk.org/covid-19/

  • The HCPC does not restrict which professions can prescribe certain medicines, nor how medicines are classified.

    We are not aware of any plans to change current legal restrictions on administering and prescribing medicines, so expect registrants to follow current legal requirements.

    If Government were to introduce emergency measures that relax these rules, we will update the advice on our website.

  • We have guidance on our website which sets out the principles of good practice expected of everyone when consulting and / or prescribing remotely.

    We would also advise you get in touch with your professional body for further advice and support. You can find a list of professional bodies on our website here

  • The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK authority on information rights and data protection and would be best place to assist you. It has released a statement which sets out their position on data protection during the COVID-19 pandemic which should assist you.

  • Our standards require registrants to only delegate work to someone who has the knowledge, skills and experience needed to carry it out safely and effectively. Therefore, COVID-19 temporary registrants should only be given work that they and their employer feels they are able to do.

    What is the appropriate level of supervision will therefore depend on the individual, their level of experience and local policies set by employers. You should take the same steps as you would usually to assess this.

    We have issued further guidance on COVID-19 temporary registrants and the standards. This is available here. Please contact policy@hcpc-uk.org if you have any questions.

    If you are a member of a professional body, they may also be able to provide further support / guidance.

  • We are encouraging registered health and care professionals to keep up-to-date with all information and guidance concerning the recent outbreak of COVID-19

    The Departments of Health and Social Care, and other agencies including Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland are regularly updating their guidance for health and care professionals and information for the public.

    Please remember to check regularly for any new statements issued, as well as being aware of guidance from your employer.

    The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England

    COVID-19: guidance for health professionals 

    Latest information and advice for the public

    Health Protection Scotland

    Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for health protection team 

    Latest information and advice for the public

    The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health Wales

    Advice including who to contact if you are concerned about coronavirus 

    Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

    Covid 19 (coronavirus) - situation in Northern Ireland

     

  • Thank you for your willingness to support the NHS at this time.

    The COVID-19 Temporary Register enables de-registered individuals to re-join the Register and their profession, where there would otherwise be a regulatory barrier to them practising.

    As you are currently registered with the HCPC (albeit not in a frontline / clinical role) those same barriers do not apply; you are still entitled to practice using your protected title. We would advise getting in touch directly with your local NHS trust to establish what support you could provide. They will also be able to advise you on what training and support will be on offer.

    We are liaising with colleagues in the NHS about if there is anything further we can advise current registrants wanting to help. We will be updating our COVID-19 hub on the website as and when we know more: https://www.hcpc-uk.org/covid-19/.

    You may wish to speak to your professional body (if a member). They will be able to give you guidance and information on current clinical best practice to help you update your skills and knowledge. You can find a list of professional bodies on our website.

  • It is not possible to waive our registration fees as they fund our regulatory functions, which are under increased pressure at this time. However, we are able to support in other ways. For example, paying by direct debit allows you to spread the cost of registration over the two year registration cycle and UK taxpayers can claim back tax on their renewal fees.

    If you are able to, you can also consider offering your services to the NHS at this time of particular need. The NHS is co-ordinating the workforce response across the four nations and by completing this survey they can match your skills to where they are needed most.

  • Health Education England (HEE) has a remit to support the workforce requirements and will have access to significant resources that can be utilised during this time. HEE Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is working with colleagues to outline how HEE can enable the access to resources through their role in supporting, at a national level, simulation-based education and digital learning resources.

    HEE e-Learning for Healthcare is currently collating relevant e-learning content from the existing catalogue for the health and care workforce into one programme.

    Resources will be available here:

    HEE-banner.jpg
     https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/coronavirus 

Impact on my registration

  • The HCPC has a statutory role in protecting the public. During the COVID-19 pandemic we are still required to fulfil this role by setting standards, keeping a Register, and taking action where concerns are raised about our registrants.

    We understand the challenges our registrants are facing, and we appreciate their commitment and dedication to help the NHS fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

    We have therefore:

    • Developed a suite of guidance and FAQs on our COVID-19 hub. These resources are intended to provide additional guidance and direction to our registrants during these challenging times, and are kept under continual review; and
    • Taken the decision to postpone the increase we had planned to make to our fees this Autumn.

    We are not part of the Department of Health and Social Care or the Government. We maintain our independence by being funded entirely by registrants’ fees. We receive no other regular funding from other sources.

    In order to meet our legal obligations, we are not able to suspend or reimburse registration fees.

  • The Government issued emergency legislation which required the HCPC to establish a temporary register to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation doesn’t allow us to collect a fee for those on the temporary register; in part because some of those individuals may choose not to practise.

    The temporary register is only in place to cover the current COVID-19 emergency and will be removed as soon as Government directs it; this could be at any time.

    We do not expect our existing registrants to bear the burden of the costs associated with the temporary register. We are keeping a record of costs incurred and will request a grant from Government to cover this if necessary.

    The HCPC has a statutory role in protecting the public. During the COVID-19 pandemic we are still required to fulfil this role by setting standards, keeping a Register, and taking action where concerns are raised about our registrants.

    We understand the challenges our registrants are facing, and we appreciate their commitment and dedication to help the NHS fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

    We have therefore:

    • Developed a suite of guidance and FAQs on our COVID-19 hub. These resources are intended to provide additional guidance and direction to our registrants during these challenging times, and are kept under continual review; and
    • Taken the decision to postpone the increase we had planned to make to our fees this Autumn.
  • We will continue with our planned renewal timelines, but with extra flexibility understanding the pressures our registrants will be under.

    For Physiotherapists who have yet to renew, we have extended the deadline by an extra month, until 31 May 2020. We have also written to those select registrants to confirm this in writing.

    More information on how to renew can be found here.

  • Registrants will understandably be concerned about how they can keep up to date with CPD or have time to submit profiles if chosen for audit at this time.

    Individuals should comply with their CPD obligations, where time allows and if it is possible to do so.

    In the current circumstances, our Council has taken the decision to cancel the audit process for Physiotherapists and Art Therapists. We have since sent out a written confirmation of this to those selected for CPD.

    If you are not one of these professions and have a previous CPD audit which is outstanding you would like to query, please email cpdprofiles@hcpc-uk.org. Please note that if you are awaiting for your profile to be assessed, this will still go ahead and we will notify you of the outcome in due course, this only applies to previous audits.

    CPD audits for Dietitians, Chiropodists/Podiatrists and Hearing Aid Dispensers will not go ahead for this current professional cycle.

    We will continue to review this and will update registrants once CPD audits are due to resume.

Fitness to practise

  • The HCPC must ensure that we continue to perform our statutory duty to protect the public and maintain the integrity of our register, particularly where there are fitness to practise concerns.

    We are therefore unable to lift restrictions (Interim Orders, Conditions of Practise Orders, Suspension Orders) at this time.

  • If you have a concern about a COVID-19 temporary registrant, please email ftp@hcpc-uk.org.

    There is additional guidance on raising a concern available on our website.

    Our Approach to the Removal of Registrants from the Temporary Register document explains how we will assess and consider a concern we receive about someone on the temporary register.

About the COVID-19 temporary register

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HCPC has worked with the UK Government to create a COVID-19 temporary register, of two parts.

    Our intention in doing so is to ensure there are no regulatory barriers to the following two groups practising on a temporary basis:

    • Former registrants who have de-registered within the last three years.
    • Third year students, on UK approved programmes, who have completed all their clinical practice placements.
  • COVID-19 temporary registrants who go back into practice will need to meet the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics and the standards of proficiency for your profession (as far as they relate to your scope of practice).

    They will not need to meet our standards for CPD, nor will they be subject to CPD audit. This reflects that registration is a temporary, short term measure. However, they should take all steps possible to ensure their skills, knowledge and experience are kept up to date when practising. We have provided more information about this here

    The HCPC standards will only apply to people on the COVID-19 temporary Register if they return to practice. If they do not return to practice, the HCPC standards will not apply to them in their personal life.

    Please note, the COVID-19 temporary register should not be read as a list of professionals ready to enter practice, or who are in any way verified to be meeting the standards and safe to return. It is the responsibility of the individual and prospective employer to determine this, based on their individual circumstances.

  • If you have a concern about a COVID-19 temporary registrant, please email ftp@hcpc-uk.org.

    There is additional guidance on raising a concern available on our website.

    Our Approach to the Removal of Registrants from the Temporary Register document explains how we will assess and consider a concern we receive about someone on the temporary register.

  • Our Approach to the Removal of Registrants from the Temporary Register document explains how we will assess and consider a concern we receive about someone on the temporary register.

  • COVID-19 temporary registrants will be able to use the protected title of the profession they are working in for the duration of their time on the COVID-19 temporary Register. However they should be open and honest about their level of experience and qualifications.

    It is likely employers will set in local policies how COVID-19 temporary registrants will be deployed. This might include practising under a different title, which makes it clear to the public their COVID-19 temporary status. 

Message from Christine Elliott, the Chair of the HCPC

Latest service information for registrants

  • Please do not telephone us at this time, but instead email our team at registration@hcpc-uk.org and we will respond as soon as we can.

  • We will continue with our planned renewal timelines, but with extra flexibility understanding the pressures our registrants will be under.

    For Physiotherapists who have yet to renew, we have extended the deadline by an extra month, until 31 May 2020. We have also written to those select registrants to confirm this in writing.

    More information on how to renew can be found here.

  • Registrants will understandably be concerned about how they can keep up to date with CPD or have time to submit profiles if chosen for audit at this time.

    Individuals should comply with their CPD obligations, where time allows and if it is possible to do so.

    In the current circumstances, our Council has taken the decision to cancel the audit process for Physiotherapists and Art Therapists. We have since sent out a written confirmation of this to those selected for CPD.

    If you are not one of these professions and have a previous CPD audit which is outstanding you would like to query, please email cpdprofiles@hcpc-uk.org. Please note that if you are awaiting for your profile to be assessed, this will still go ahead and we will notify you of the outcome in due course, this only applies to previous audits.

    CPD audits for Dietitians, Chiropodists/Podiatrists and Hearing Aid Dispensers will not go ahead for this current professional cycle.

    We will continue to review this and will update registrants once CPD audits are due to resume.

  • We will postpone our advertised My Standards events and CPD workshops, but ensure there are online alternatives.

    Once details are finalised we will be in touch with all those who expressed an interest in attending.

  • We will continue to receive and promptly triage any concerns made via our website, ensuring interim orders are put in place to protect the public if needed.

    Given many registrants will be working in challenging circumstances, context will be taken into account in this process.

  • We will continue with this activity without a public meeting. We will be in contact with all parties.

  • We have had to postpone a number of scheduled final hearings, following UK government advice to work from home and restrict all but essential travel and social contact.

    We are able to conduct some final hearings remotely, where suitable, using virtual meeting methods.

    To ensure service-user safety we will be prioritising the consideration of all interim order activity and the review of existing sanctions.

    We will be in direct contact with any Registrants where this applies.

  • We are continuing to respond to postal enquiries and updates on cases, however, we are subject to limited access to incoming post, so please bear with us or, where possible, please email us if a more timely response is required.

Page updated on: 01/05/2020
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