Skip navigation

Preceptorship – supporting registrants, employers and the sector to deliver better healthcare

24 Nov 2022
  • Developing professionalism

This month the HCPC has launched a consultation on a concept that may be new and unfamiliar to many of our registrants, ‘preceptorship’.

The consultation sets out our ambition to construct a set of principles that can support registrants, employers and the wider sector in delivering better healthcare by ensuring healthcare professionals are better supported at key points in their careers.

What is preceptorship?

For many new to healthcare, it is a word they might never have come across before, and even those who have worked in healthcare for many years might not have much familiarity with it. In current use, preceptorship is a period of support offered to healthcare professionals, usually at the beginning of their careers, but also when they transition between roles or take on new responsibilities.

This sounds like a simple thing to get right, but at the moment there are many different approaches taken to preceptorship across the UK’s wide and diverse healthcare systems. In some places preceptorship programmes are well-established, but in other areas or professions there is much less support available.

We are not looking to unpick what is already well-established or working well, rather we are looking to introduce a set of guiding principles which can underpin and support the delivery of effective preceptorship programmes to all of our registrants, particularly where there is currently no such provision.

Why do we care about preceptorship?

As we’ve already set out, stakeholder engagement suggests that access to, and the quality of, support varies widely between professions, sectors and across the UK. We also understand that some healthcare professionals are increasingly not feeling valued or well-supported in new roles, and that this has a contributing impact on workforce retention.

Early analysis work we have conducted on UK-route registrant leaving rates for those who registered with the HCPC between 2013 and 2018, suggests that 94% of new registrants remained registered after four-years, which means that 1 in 17 new registrants left their registered professions during that four-year period. But in some professions this leaving rate is as high as 1 in 8.


This diagram indicates considerable variation between our 15 professions, ranging from 98% to 87% remaining registered after 4 years

While individual registrants’ decisions to leave the register may be based on any number of factors, it is possible that effective preceptorship support through periods of transition may go some way in helping to support registrants remain in their professions longer. Other health and care professions, for example nursing, already have structured preceptorship support, and it is important that our professions are equally well-supported.

What are we hoping to achieve?

This work is an opportunity for us to define what preceptorship should mean for all of our registrants. Through our consultation we are seeking feedback to understand how best to design our guiding principles that we hope will support the take-up of preceptorship, and in turn positively impact on how registrants and employers use it to improve their working lives and the lives of the people they care for. We want to ensure that we are taking on board feedback from people working across the UK’s many healthcare systems, and all of the professions we regulate so that we get this right.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far, and for everyone else, please do click through to the webpages and share your thoughts, ideas, questions or concerns. If you want to know more, we are running a dedicated webinar on 1 December 2022 which you could also join.

We are hoping that through this work we will see positive impacts on patient safety and experience, individual registrant wellbeing and potentially workforce retention, but we need your help to ensure that the outcomes of this work have relevance for all our professions, regardless of the country or workplace that they are operating within.

Page updated on: 24/11/2022