Registrants must have the skills, knowledge, character and health to practise their profession safely and effectively
The health and care professionals we regulate must be fit to practise. Fitness to practise may involve issues outside of professional or clinical performance. The conduct of a professional outside of their working environment may involve fitness to practise where it could affect the protection of the public or undermine public confidence in the profession.
Purpose of the fitness to practise process
Our fitness to practise process is designed to protect the public from those who are not fit to practise.
If a registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired (in other words, negatively affected) it means there are concerns about their ability to practise safely and effectively. This may mean that they should not practise at all, or that they should be limited in what they are allowed to do.
Our focus is on current impairment; that is whether a registrant may continue to present a risk. Our fitness to practise process is not designed to punish past mistakes or provide redress for past incidents, although we can take past failings into account in assessing current fitness to practise.
Further information about fitness to practise and our approach to fitness to practise investigations can be found in our Threshold Policy for Fitness to Practise Investigations.
The types of cases we can consider are those that question whether a registered professional’s fitness to practise is “impaired” on one of the following “grounds”:
- Misconduct – behaviour that falls short of what can reasonably be expected of a professional.
- Lack of competence – lack of knowledge, skill and judgement, usually repeated and over a period of time.
- Conviction or caution – for a criminal offence in the UK (or in another country if the offence would be a crime if committed here).
- Physical or mental health – usually a long-term, untreated or unacknowledged condition.
- A decision made by another health or social care regulator.
You can find more information about these grounds our case studies page.
We consider every case individually. Below are some of the types of issues we are able to investigate:
- Dishonesty, fraud or abuse of trust;
- Exploitation of a vulnerable person;
- Failure to act in the best interests of service users
- Serious breaches of a service user’s confidentiality or data protection requirements;
- Committing reckless or deliberately harmful acts;
- Serious or repeated mistakes in service user care;
- Where a registrant’s performance in their role has harmed service users or put them at risk of harm;
- Breach of a professional relationship with a service user;
- Violence, sexual misconduct or indecent behaviour;
- A caution or conviction for a criminal offence.
- Health conditions that are not being managed and may affect the safety of service users, including substance abuse or misuse;
- An adverse finding by another regulatory body;
- Fraudulent or incorrect entry onto the HCPC Register, or
- Other equally serious activities which affect public confidence in the profession.
If you are unhappy with the care or service you have received from one of our registered professionals, it is usually best to tell the professional or other management staff at their place of work. This will give them the opportunity to put things right and is generally the most effective method of resolving a complaint.
Concerns about education providers
The HCPC Education Department considers concerns about education providers including education programmes. If you would like to raise a concern or learn more about this area, please go to the education part of our website.