When it comes to fitness to practise and its association to mental health and wellbeing, there are two key factors for us to consider: the effects of poor wellbeing and high stress on health and care professionals and how these can often lead to fitness to practise situations; and the challenges, stress and strain faced by professionals who experience fitness to practise processes.
In this blog we will explore the importance of maintaining fitness to practise, wellbeing and seeking help where necessary.
As a health and care regulator, we require registrants to maintain their fitness to practise by ensuring that their health does not affect their ability to practise their profession safely and effectively. For us this also includes taking care of mental health and wellbeing. The fitness to practise process itself can also be a very stressful time for HCPC registrants and we as an organisation are keen to improve this.
We are increasingly aware of the demand and pressures on health and care professionals and indeed most recently with the added impact of the global pandemic. Increasing workload on professionals and healthcare services, combined with growing external scrutiny of their practise has often been linked directly to high stress and poor wellbeing. These factors can take its toll on registrants and consequently patients also.
A key change area witin our current Standards of proficiency consultation
As many of you by now will be aware, we are currently consulting on the Standards of proficiency for all 15 of the professions on our Register. This consultation is vital for ensuring the standards remain effective and fit for purpose. These are the standards that we consider necessary for the safe and effective practice of each of the professions we regulate. They describe what professionals must know, understand and be able to do at the time they apply to join the Register.
One key area of change being proposed within this consultation is the importance of our registrants maintaining fitness to practise as well as considering the role of mental health and being able to seek help where necessary. The standards currently require registrants to maintain their fitness to practise by ensuring that their health does not affect their ability to practise safely and effectively. We are now proposing that the standards should also mention mental health or wellbeing explicitly. Registrants must be able to maintain their fitness to practise but also understand the importance of maintaining their own physical and mental health and wellbeing. We are exploring how to better reflect this in the standards to ensure that registrants are supported, whilst ensuring that we are mindful of the sensitivities in this area.