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New research commissioned by the HCPC shows that one in five 'doubted fitness to practise' of a health or care professional

20/11/2013 - 09:00

HCPC launches new research and takes steps to protect the public

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is launching new research today which finds that a fifth of UK adults have encountered behaviour from a health or care professional that made them doubt their fitness to practise.

More than a quarter said the health or care professional in question seriously or persistently failed to meet standards whilst 16 per cent said they felt the professional failed to respect the rights of a patient to make their own choices.  Thirteen per cent felt they were ‘hiding mistakes’ and a further nine per cent felt they were exploiting vulnerable patients.  One in twenty said they had experienced or witnessed reckless or deliberately harmful acts.

Despite these figures, just three out of ten reported their concerns, with a further 73 per cent of adults who would not know where to go to report concerning behaviour.

The data, released today supports research commissioned by the HCPC earlier in the year into what the general public feel they need protection from most.  Findings from this report show that Illegal drug taking and shoplifting were far more likely to concern members of the public than convictions for drink driving. Dishonesty and fraud were also key concerns for most.

Brian James, Head of Assurance and Development said:

“The vast majority of HCPC registrants practise safely and effectively and within nationally agreed standards for professional skills and behaviour. However, on the rare occasion that a registrant does not meet HCPC standards, action can be taken including imposing sanctions or stopping them from practising in the most serious of cases. After looking at the key findings in this research it is reassuring to know that we are dealing with the issues that the public feel they need protecting from the most.”

The HCPC’s 2013 annual fitness to practise report, which has just been published, shows the action the HCPC is taking to protect the public. 
Anyone can contact the HCPC to raise a concern about a registrant. This includes members of the public, employers, the police and other professionals.


Notes to Editors:
1. All media enquiries to Amy Morgan on +44 (0)20 7840 9806 or email

2. The research for HCPC was carried out by Opinion Matters between 21 August 2013 and 26 August 2013 with a sample size of 2039 UK adults.

3. For further information about the public protection research visit

4 To download a PDF version of the How to Raise a Concern visit

5. The Health and Care Professions Council is an independent regulator set up by the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001. The HCPC keeps a register for 16 different health and care professions and only registers people who meet the standards it sets for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health. The HCPC will take action against professionals who do not meet these standards or who use a protected title illegally.

6. The HCPC currently regulates the following 16 professions. Each of these professions has one or more ‘protected titles’. Anyone who uses one of these titles must register with the HCPC. To see the full list of protected titles please see
Arts therapists
Biomedical scientists
Chiropodists / podiatrists
Clinical scientists
Hearing aid dispensers
Occupational therapists
Operating department practitioners
Practitioner psychologists
Prosthetists / orthotists
Social workers in England
Speech and language therapists

Amy Morgan
+44 (0)20 7840 9806

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