The COVID-19 pandemic has had huge impacts on the healthcare workforce, and we want to make sure we support registrants and applicants through this as far as possible
Whilst we still required applicants to the Register to evidence their ability to meet our standards, we recognise the challenges they might face in meeting our returning to practice requirements.
As such, we will provide flexibility in this regard, whilst continuing to assure those we register are fit to practise safely and effectively.
What flexibility will we offer?
Any departure from our returning to practice requirements will be considered on a case by case basis; but we are committed to taking account of:
- The timescales within which an applicant has completed the return to practice requirements.
- The evidence we accept as proof of ‘supervised practice’.
- Alternative forms of ‘formal study’.
Our returning to practice processes will take account of the impact COVID-19 may have had on the timescales within which returnees have been able to complete their period of updating.
We would usually require that all of an applicant’s updating is completed, from start to finish, within the 12 months before they apply for registration or readmission. We are temporarily extending this period to 24 months.
Evidence of supervised practice
We will support returnees in using evidence of practice as a temporary registrant as proof of ‘supervised practice’, where appropriate.
Our requirements around supervised practice are already permissive and we do not set detailed guidance for supervisors because we believe that the level of supervision needed and the tasks carried out will depend on the returner’s specific learning needs.
We appreciate the challenges COVID-19 will have presented in this regard and will allow supervisors to make their own judgements on what level of supervision is/has been possible during the pandemic.
Alternative forms of ‘formal study’
We will consider alternative forms of ‘formal study’ gained during the COVID-19 pandemic, where these are reasonable and give rise to similar levels of learning.
It will be for applicants to justify this in their returning to practice form; and we will be as flexible as possible in considering alternatives.