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.
COVID-19 advice for current registrants
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.
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 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 email@example.com.
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.
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
We appreciate that the current COVID-19 pandemic presents significant challenges to the health and care workforce, and we have some FAQs on our website for current registrants. This includes information about what to consider when buying personal protective equipment. We will be updating our website regularly with further advice and support: https://www.hcpc-uk.org/covid-19/
During the pandemic you should continue to follow the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics, in particular you must:
- take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to service users, carers and colleagues as far as possible (6.1);
- 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 (6.2); and
- make changes to how you practice, or stop practising, if your physical or mental health may affect your performance or judgement, or put others at risk for any other reason.
We would advise you to use your professional judgement in determining whether it is appropriate to visit your service users. In doing so you should consider the needs of your service users to receive treatment against the risks posed by undertaking that treatment. You should also take account of current Government advice.
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.
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.
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
Health Protection Scotland
The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health Wales
Department of Health (Northern Ireland)
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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 email@example.com. 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.
Regarding upcoming audits in the near future, including Dietitians, the CPD audit will not go ahead for this professional cycle. We will continue to review this and will communicate with our registrants once CPD audits are due to resume.
We will continue to update this page with further details when needed.
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 are postponing our hearings until we are in a position to relist. We will be in contact with all hearing participants in relation to this.
No further substantive FTP hearings will take place until 6 July but this will be kept under review.
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.