Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our main objective has been to ensure we continue to fulfill our statutory duty to protect the public, ensure the health of our employees, and provide flexibility and support to our registrants.
To meet these objectives, we had to quickly adapt our ways of working.
This included creating temporary register(s) of former registrants and final year students to support the workforce effort, creating a range of resources to support our registrants, and providing tools and advice to employers.
Throughout, we have been able to receive and investigate fitness to practise concerns and continue to approve and monitor education and training programmes.
Importantly, we joined the nation each week to recognise our dedicate health and care professionals who continued to work tirelessly and put our care before their own.
We remember those that became unwell and those that very sadly lost their lives.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our registrants, including those registered temporarily, for your professionalism, dedication and hard work.
This pandemic has raised your profile and enabled the nation to understand the commitment you bring and the challenges you face. Thank you.
We would also like to thank those that have supported our registrants, including their professional bodies, unions, education providers and employers.
Our registrants continue to play an essential role in the control of the virus and the provision of treatment and care for those affected by Covid-19. This work will continue for some time.
As restrictions begin to ease across the UK and steps are taken to return to business as usual – the new ‘usual’ – we too have begun to reflect on our learning from this period.
The pandemic required us to quickly adapt how we operated as a regulator. We intend to build on this agility to ensure we deliver effective public protection through lean and intelligent regulation.
In consultation with key stakeholders, we will be developing our new strategy to support this aspiration.
More immediate changes to our current services include:
As the UK moves through the COVID-19 emergency period, we have turned our attention to how we can best support the workforce demand. In consultation with key stakeholders, we have decided that:
- Student temporary registration will end on 30 September 2020. We are now notifying all students on the temporary register of this decision and encouraging them to apply for registration, via the UK application route, as soon as they have successfully completed their education programme.
- We will seek to close the temporary register for former registrants once the UK has passed through its emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic and any risk of a second peak has dissipated. Temporary registration for former registrants will, therefore, continue for the time being.
We surveyed our temporary registrants in June 2020, to understand how they had used their temporary registration and what their experiences of joining the workforce had been.
We continue with our planned renewal timelines and the window for Operating department practitioners renewals will open on 1 September 2020 and close on 30 November 2020.
Continuing professional development (CPD)
CPD audits were suspended in March 2020 as understandably our registrants would not have time to submit profiles if chosen for audit.
CPD enables our registrants to keep their skills and knowledge up to date, ensuring that they continue to practise safely and effectively.
As we move out of the immediate crisis response phase of the pandemic, it is important that these support structures for our registrants return.
We will, therefore, be resuming our CPD audit process from September 2020.
Fitness to practise
We continued to receive and investigate fitness to practise concerns throughout the pandemic and moved to virtual hearings and meetings.
It was necessary for us to postpone some of our substantive hearings and, for a short time, we were unable to list new hearings.
We have now resumed the listing of postponed and new hearings. Substantive hearings will be held virtually from July 2020 and we are currently planning how we can hold hybrid hearings, providing for some participants to attend in person, from September 2020 when a virtual hearing is not feasible or appropriate.
Standard of proficiency
In June 2020, we opened our consultation on proposed changes to the Standards of proficiency for all professions on the Register.
The Standards of proficiency are professional standards that set out what we consider necessary for safe and effective practice.
They describe what professionals must know, understand and be able to do at the time they apply to join the Register.
Registrants must meet these standards in order to become registered, and to remain on the Register as far as they relate to their current scope of practice.
We have worked closely with stakeholders to understand what changes are required and establish what the revised standards will look like, and we have now been able to open the consultation.
Contacting us by email remains the most effective way to get in touch with us.
We have been working hard to enable you to contact us by telephone whilst we have all been working remotely. From mid-August 2020 you should be able to contact us by telephone again.