To mark the National Day of Reflection, one year on from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of a national lockdown in the UK, Council Members took a one-minute silence at noon during today’s council meeting. Following this, Chair Christine Elliott reflected on the impact of the last year on the HCPC, its registrants and the public.
Approximately 126,000 people in the UK have died from coronavirus in the last year, including over 1,000 health and social care workers. Each of these deaths is a tragedy and the Council’s thoughts go out to their families and friends.
Thanks in part to many of HCPC’s hard-working registrants, over 30 million people (more than half the adult population) in the UK have now received at least their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, marking significant progress towards ending the health crisis.
The last year has put a spotlight on the health and care sector, which has resulted in record interest in healthcare careers. During 2020, there was a 48 per cent increase in traffic to information about AHP professions on the NHS Health Careers website and university acceptances to study for the allied health professions in England rose by 17.5 per cent last year compared with 2019.
Many HCPC professionals have had to adapt their ways of working, some of them learning new skills and joining new teams. As outlined in the HCPC Corporate Strategy, we intend to embed the lessons learnt and best practice from the pandemic in our work going forward. In a survey by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists in October last year, 63 per cent of participants said the pandemic had led to positive changes that they would like to see continued.
In other examples of innovation brought about by the pandemic, four UK universities are now using a cloud-based resource to train therapeutic radiographers online. And in March this year, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy launched its ‘Placement Profile’ platform to showcase innovation and pioneering placement models from across the UK.
Other developments and milestones of note in the last year include the HCPC’s opening of the podiatric surgery annotation for registered podiatrists; the College of Podiatry became the Royal College of Podiatry, after being granted permission by Her Majesty The Queen; the Institute for Biomedical Scientists launched a bespoke mentoring scheme for its members in and the College of Paramedics celebrated 50 years since the inception of paramedics as a recognised profession.
Chair of the Council, Christine Elliott, invited Council Members to share their reflections on what they have learnt, professionally or personally, from experiences of the pandemic. Senior Council Member Eileen Mullan imparts some of her thoughts in the following video: