Panel Chairs are either members of the public or HCPC Registrants. All Panel Chairs have previous experience of Fitness to Practise (FtP) Hearings or similar and receive regular HCPC Panel chair training. Panel chairs oversee a range of independent panels considering fitness to practise allegations.
If concerns are raised about a HCPC registrant, these are investigated by the HCPC's FTP Department, who may refer the matter to an Investigating Panel.
This Panel meets in private and does not make a decision about whether the allegation is proven; but only whether there is a realistic prospect that the HCPC will be able to establish the allegation at a substantive hearing.
If the Investigating Panel decides that there is a case to answer, the allegations will be referred to:
- a Conduct and Competence Panel (if the allegation concerns misconduct, lack of competence, a conviction or caution, or a determination by another regulatory body);
- a Health Panel (if the allegation concerns the health of the registrant) Interim order hearings
If the HCPC receives an allegation about a registrant that is very serious, it may apply to a panel for an interim order to prevent the registrant from practising (interim suspension order), or to place limits on their practice (interim conditions of practice order) until their case is heard at a substantive hearing. If an interim order is imposed this will be reviewed by a panel at regular intervals to decide if an order is still necessary.
Reviews of substantive orders
Under Article 30 of the Health Professions Order 2001, where a panel has imposed a suspension order or conditions of practise order, the order must be reviewed by a panel before it expires.