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Advice for students

In light of the latest Government advice, we will be reviewing these pages
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We are working with stakeholders across the sector to address the impact COVID-19 is having on students

We recognise students are keen to continue their development as health and care professionals. They also want to understand more about the role they can play supporting the health service during this difficult time.

We have opened a temporary register for final year students who have completed their placement learning. For those students who wish to practice, this will enable you to enter the health service as a registered professional on a temporary basis.

We also recognise programmes across the UK have been impacted, and that practice-based learning has been reduced, and in some cases stopped altogether. We are working closely with education providers and other stakeholders within the sector to ensure students are supported to continue on their programmes, and progress towards full registration with us in the future.

Progressing on your programme

  • Students will need to speak to their education provider to understand what measures they are putting in place and what impact that may have on their studies.

    We have issued advice for education providers to manage this in a manner which is flexible, and ensures our standards can continue to be maintained.

  • Students will need to speak to their education provider to understand what measures they are putting in place and what impact that may have on their studies.

    We have issued advice for education providers to manage this in a manner which is flexible, and ensures our standards can continue to be maintained.

  • We expect students to follow local guidance and policies put in place by their education provider and placement provider.

    Your education provider will be applying these currently to determine the suitability of placements. This may mean some placements are no longer able to provide a suitable learning environment.

    If you have any concerns about a placement, you should speak to your supervisor, HEI tutor or course leader.

  • We would strongly advise you to raise your concerns with your education provider and placement provider in the first instance.

    We would expect education providers to use their existing policies and guidance to determine whether your placement should continue.

About the COVID-19 temporary register

  • Registration on the COVID-19 temporary Register is automatic.

    A list of eligible former registrants and third year students is available on the website. This will continue to be updated, as more individuals become eligible. Name, location and past registration number (for former registrants) or name of the education and training provider (for third year students) is provided to identify eligible individuals.

    If your name is on this list, and you would like to offer to support your profession in the COVID-19 pandemic, you do not need to do anything further with HCPC in order to practice.

    It is for employers recruiting COVID-19 temporary registrants to decide what, if any, checks they will need to put in place to prove identity.

    We expect that for the majority of former registrants, this will be fairly informal, relying on professional networks, employer records or HCPC documentation (if still available).

    For students, we would expect employers to liaise with education providers to confirm identity. As with the above, for the majority of cases this should be fairly informal, as most third year students will likely be working in settings where they have already been on placement and so there is already an existing relationship.

    If further proof of identity is required, please contact e-regtemp@hcpc-uk.org.

  • There is no need to pay fees to the HCPC whilst on the COVID-19 temporary Register, whether or not you decide to go back into practice.

    This is a temporary measure we have made using emergency powers given to us by Government. Therefore our usual regulatory costs do not apply.

  • The HCPC standards will only apply to people on the COVID-19 temporary Register if they go back into practice. If you do not return to practice under your professional title, the HCPC standards will not apply to you, and so will not have any impact on your personal life.

    If you do plan to go into practice, we provide some further guidance on how to apply the standards in your emergency role below. 

  • Education providers should continue to support students to undertake further academic assessments (resits) where their own academic regulations permit this.

    Where this is the case, we expect education providers to only notify us where they have immediate concerns about students being on the temporary register as a result. Concerns which meet our Triage test as explained in our Threshold Policy will result in removal of individuals from the Register with immediate effect.

    If a student on the temporary register has received an exit award off their programme as a result of any failure, and are therefore no longer on a programme of learning leading to HCPC registration as a result, the education provider must notify us of this immediately so we can remove that inidividual from 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. 

Joining the temporary register

  • Final year students who have successfully completed all their required practice placement learning are eligible to join the COVID-19 temporary register. Education providers will send us details of students who are eligible for entry on to the register.

  • If you feel you have met our requirements, but are not on the register, please discuss this further with your education provider. If needed, the education provider can provide us with the information we need to add you to the register.

  • We will be keeping the COVID-19 temporary register up to date and so further students may be added to it over time, depending on how long this register needs to be kept open.

  • We will email you once you are on the temporary register, and provide you with your temporary registration number. Once you have this, you do not need to do anything further with HCPC.

    If you are interested in practising you can register your interest with employers - see 'Being employed' section for more information.

    If an employer requires further verification of your identity, please contact e-regtemp@hcpc-uk.org.

  • Being on the temporary register confers no obligation on you to practice. However, if you do want your details removed, please contact e-regtemp@hcpc-org.

  • We have taken all possible steps to ensure that the personal information of former registrants is kept securely.

    The information on the COVID-19 temporary Register that is publically available is the minimum amount of information we considered necessary for establishing this Register and protecting the public. If you have any concerns about this, please get in touch with our Data Protection Officer at foi@hcpc-uk.org

Being employed as a temporary registrant

  • The NHS has confirmed the following with regard to payment for final year students on the temporary register:

    ‘Final year students on the emergency register who are employed on an NHS contract will be paid at the starting point of Agenda for Change Band 5.’

  • This should be similar to how employers support any newly qualified registrant entering the workforce for the first time.

    You should expect your employer to induct you appropriately, and consider your practice scope and experience in determining where you may practice and the supervision you may need.

  • HCPC registrants working for an NHS trust to provide NHS services should have insurance and indemnity cover through the existing NHS mechanisms. To ensure there are no gaps in indemnity coverage, the Coronavirus Act 2020 provides additional powers to provide clinical negligence indemnity arising from NHS activities related to the Coronavirus outbreak, where there is no existing indemnity arrangement in place. There are no requirements for professionals to seek additional cover.

    For further, more detailed guidance, please see the FAQs provided by NHS Resolution.

  • No. The decision to practise whilst on the temporary register is for each student to take. If you do decide to enter practice you will become an employee within the health service.

    Your employers will set out the contractual terms of your employment and you will remain accountable to them during your time in service.

    During this time your education provider where possible will continue to support you in your progression with academic studies. This indicates no relationship with the practice you are undertaking whilst on the temporary register.

Practising as a temporary registrant

  • We do not require anyone on the COVID-19 temporary Register to make a health or character declaration to us in order to practise. We have already taken steps to remove from the pool of de-registered individuals those who have been the subject of a fitness to practise concern in the past.

    However, in order to go back into practice, temporary registrants will need to ensure they are able to meet our standards. This includes an expectation that they will:

    • take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to service users, carers and colleagues as far as possible;
    • not do anything, or allow someone else to do anything, which could put the health or safety of a service user, carer or colleague at unacceptable risk; and
    • make changes to how you practise, or stop practising, if your physical or mental health may affect your performance or judgement, or put others at risk for any other reason.

    Therefore, if you believe that your health will impact on your ability to practice, you should not return to practice. Nor should you go back into practice if your conduct since leaving the Register has fallen significantly short of the standards, or you otherwise feel that your skills and knowledge are no longer sufficient to allow you to practise safely.

  • The COVID-19 temporary Register has been created to ensure that the NHS is as prepared as it can be for the COVID-19 pandemic.

    If anyone is practising under the COVID-19 temporary Register, they will need to demonstrate that their scope of practice is linked in some way to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This does not necessarily need to be directly related to COVID-19 (for example treating service users diagnosed or with symptoms of COVID-19). It could be indirect, such as by back-filling other roles in the health and care sector to fill workforce gaps where large numbers of professionals are on sick leave or have been called to work more directly with those with COVID-19.

    This also does not need to be restricted to roles in the NHS. Private practice roles will be essential in supporting the NHS to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore working in a private practice role could still be sufficiently linked to COVID-19.

    In general, it will not be appropriate for a COVID-19 temporary registrant to set up their own private practice or work on a self-employed basis (not including agency workers or roles which support established private practices). If you have any queries in this regard, please contact policy@hcpc-uk.org.

    The COVID-19 temporary Register should not be misused. If we are made aware that someone is misusing their temporary registration (for example, by practising in a way which is not linked – directly or indirectly – to COVID-19), we will remove them from the Register.

  • The HCPC standards will only apply to people on the COVID-19 temporary Register if they return to practice. If you do not return to practice under your professional title, the HCPC standards will not apply to you, and will therefore not have any impact on your personal life.

    If you do plan to practice, you 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).

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

    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. Any queries can be sent to policy@hcpc-uk.org.

  • Former registrants and third year students may not have up to date skills, knowledge and experience for all areas of practice.

    In order to keep your service users safe, we expect you to limit your practice to your current skills, knowledge and experience level. In practice this means:

    • If you are a former registrant, this is likely to mean you would return to a similar scope of practice to that of the role you were most recently practising in. However, we expect professionals on the COVID-19 temporary Register to use their professional judgement to make this decision. If entering a role outside your traditional scope of practice, you may need to seek out additional training or support (such as supervision) from your employer.
    • If you are a third year student, you should consider what parts of your education and training you have not yet completed or had experience of. You should use this to inform what roles you undertake and where you need to seek out additional support.

    Employers may also require COVID-19 temporary registrants to undertake certain training, or arrange for you to be supervised by another professional when you start practising. You should speak to your employer to establish what requirements they might have.

    Professional bodies are often a good resource for advice and support, so you should get in touch with them if you have any concerns.

  • Our standards require you to keep full, clear and accurate records.

    We recognise that in an emergency scenario record keeping standards may vary. You should consult with your employer about what records you need to keep and in what form.

  • 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.

    You may be given supervision by another professional. As set out above, you should always be open and honest with them about your current level of skills and experience and what areas of practice you may need additional support with.

  • All of our professions have different medical entitlements – this includes prescribing rights, exemptions and access to PGDs (patient group directions). The specific rights vary for each profession. A full list can be found on our website.

    With the exception of annotations (such as prescribing rights), COVID-19 temporary registrants will be able to access their medical entitlements as normal. However, they should only do so if they feel they have the required skills, knowledge and experience (see above for more information). Temporary registrants should continue to follow the law and guidance in this area, as well as local policies set by employers.

    However, temporary registrants should only use these if they feel they have the required skills, knowledge and experience (see above for more information). Temporary registrants should continue to follow the law and guidance in this area, as well as local policies set by employers.

    Third year students in particular should consider whether they have enough training and experience to start practising in this area. Medical entitlements cannot be delegated so students are unlikely to have much experience, if any, in these areas. Employers will therefore need to support third year students in the usual way they would newly qualified registrants.

    Some former registrants may have had annotations on the Register – either in prescribing or podiatric surgery. Due to the high risk associated with these areas, we do not plan to give former registrants with annotations these rights when they join the COVID-19 temporary Register. Therefore, if you were able to prescribe and have recently de-registered, you will not be able to prescribe in this temporary role.

    This is based on our current risk assessment, but we will monitor developments to ensure this continues to be an appropriate approach.

  • You should always communicate appropriately and effectively and be open and honest with service users. This includes being honest about your experience, qualifications and skills.

    You should therefore always be open and honest with service users about your registration status. You should not mislead service users about your level of experience or qualifications. Nor should you suggest to a service user that you have an ability to practice outside of your COVID-19 temporary role.

    COVID-19 temporary registrants are able to use their protected title(s) 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.

  • 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 

Page updated on: 24/03/2020
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