The HCPC has updated its standards of proficiency for the first time since 2015. The crucial changes have been made following an extensive period of engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, to seek views and develop standards in line with current professional practice.
The revised standards set clear expectations of registrants’ knowledge and ability in a healthcare landscape which has changed and evolved in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Updating the standards was a crucial component in fulfilling our purpose to promote excellence in the professions we regulate, and champion high quality care that the public can access safely and with confidence.
What are the standards of proficiency?
Our standards of proficiency describe what professionals must know, understand and be able to do in order to join and remain on our Register. They set expectations for professionals on our Register, and help make clear to the public what they should expect of a HCPC registrant. We hold professionals to the standards at the point of registration, renewal, and if fitness to practice concerns are raised.
When will the new standards come into effect?
From 1 September 2023, all registrants will have to meet the standards of proficiency relevant to their scope of practice. We will be providing a host of resources and activities which will assist different stakeholder groups prepare ahead of the implementation date.
How have we updated them?
Our standards of proficiency include common standards, which apply to all 15 of the professions we regulate, and standards specific to each profession. The new updates include:
- An expansion of the role of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Although the standards already included EDI requirements, these changes strengthen them, helping to promote equality in healthcare access and outcomes. We are committed to ensuring that our registrants can provide high-quality healthcare to all their service users.
- A new standard about promoting public health and preventing ill-health. This may involve providing advice, referrals or other interventions which may not be directly connected to the reason their patient sought care. This change recognises that registrants are part of a larger healthcare system, and play a vital role in promoting public health.
- Wording changes to move registrants away from a passive understanding of the standards towards active implementation of them. For example, we have replaced ‘be able to’ with ‘must’ at the beginning of several standards. This more active wording makes clear the expectations on registrants, and reflects the importance of registrants being autonomous and caring.
- Changes to put patients and service users first. For example, our new standards ask registrants to take a wider range of circumstances into account when determining consent, reflecting evolving definitions of patient consent.
- An elevation of the importance of registrants’ mental health. The previous standards were less about registrant health and more focused on fitness to practise; registrants are now required to develop and adopt clear strategies for physical and mental self-care. The new wording reflects our position as a compassionate regulator and the vital importance of registrant wellness.
The updates we have made to our standards of proficiency ensure that they are relevant to current practice, and reflect the day-to-day experience of our registrants. By setting out what is expected of registrants, they will help to deliver care that protects the public.
All registrants have a professional responsibility to ensure they understand the revised standards. Please visit the Standards page on our website to view the standards in full.