HCPC submitted evidence to the Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry: Covid-19: Government procurement, and contracts for PPE. The inquiry aims to take evidence on two National Audit Office reports, one of which specifically looks at procurement and contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE). HCPC’s evidence primarily aimed to address the scale of problems in the availability of PPE throughout the emergency.
In order to help Registrants focus on their important responsibilities during this exceptional and uncertain time, we quickly introduced a range of measures to ease the impact for registrants whilst continuing to protect the public. HCPC created guidelines to help registrants manage risk, which included a section on what to do when the appropriate PPE is not available.
HCPC acknowledges the difficulties posed by practising in an emergency situation and we encouraged Registrants to use their professional judgement when assessing risk. Advice to Registrants included immediately raising concerns with their employers if they felt unsafe providing treatment to service users with COVID-19 due to their lack of suitable PPE.
However, our evidence highlighted that Registrants were concerned about short supply of the correct PPE where they worked and the risk this posed to them and patients. Whether Registrants reached out to us about an ongoing or a potential shortage, it was clear that the uncertainty placed a considerable stress on them.
An increase in workload pressure on health and care professionals has led to a potential increase in risk to the health and wellbeing of both patients and healthcare professionals. Our evidence also addressed how the additional stress placed on health and care professionals by guidance relating to PPE which changed quickly and which could leave professionals uncertain about best practice.
Throughout the pandemic, our Registrants embraced new ways of working and even undertook additional training so they can help front line services. We are extremely proud of the contribution the HCPC, and our individual Registrants have made to tackling COVID-19.