The past year has been one of challenge and adaptation for health and care services, across the UK. Our registrants continue to be on the front line of the COVID-19 response, from paramedics facing increasing demands on their services, to the physiotherapists helping those who are dealing with the symptoms of long COVID, to the biomedical scientists improving our understanding of COVID-19 and their role in ensuring testing. The pandemic has underscored the crucial role HCPC registrants play, at every level of the healthcare system.
Every health and care professional has played a role, even if it is different from the one they are used to, boosting the capacity of urgent care services. The situation that we have faced and the way in which we have been able to act as a regulator, during this unprecedented time, has formed the basis of our vision for the next five years, set out in our first ever Corporate Strategy. We want to be a high performing, adaptable and caring regulator that ensures public protection through strong, evidence-based regulation.
We also want to be a caring and empathetic regulator and reduce the need for unnecessary Fitness to Practise actions. We will do this by adopting a preventative approach; identifying trends and learnings so that we can put in measures before they become FtP issues.
There is no better example of this approach than the work we are doing to signpost mental health and well-being support that is available to our registrants. We want registrants to feel they can seek early help for any problems they may be facing, without the fear of a Fitness to Practise tribunal hanging over them, while also ensuring that patient safety remains paramount. This new preventative approach will reduce the emotional strain on registrants and members of the public alike, allowing us to resolve issues in a more timely and caring way.
Being a more caring and empathetic regulator also means championing equality and fairness in all our processes. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, which has shone a light on health inequalities. As a regulator, we have a responsibility to acknowledge those inequalities and ensure we are doing everything we can to address them.
For HCPC, the launch of this strategy and this vision is just the beginning. Our focus now is to deliver on these ambitions, underpinned by our values and our commitment to public protection. We look forward to working alongside our stakeholders to develop and evolve as a regulator and promote the best outcomes for the users of health and care services across the whole of the UK.
Christine Elliott and John Barwick