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Professional registrationFeb 27, 2023

HCPC presses ahead with 20 per cent hike in fees, despite overwhelming opposition from registrants

Hard-pressed physiotherapists can expect to pay significantly more to retain their professional registration in the coming months and years, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) announced last week (23 February).

Council members rubber-stamped a controversial proposal to increase a registrant's annual registration fee from £98.12 to £117.74 – a decision that awaits approval by the UK and Scottish parliaments.

An HCPC statement said the 20 per cent fee rise will come into effect from the second half of this year at the earliest onwards, with most professions not paying the revised fee until 2024 or 2025.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
The HCPC admits registrants are already facing a 'difficult time' but says rise is 'necessary'


HCPC finances 'unsustainable'

‘We understand that this is a difficult time financially for registrants and if it was not necessary for us to increase our fees now, we would not be seeking to do so,’ the HCPC said.

The organisation has run with operating deficits over the past five years, meaning its financial reserves have declining ‘to a level below what is sustainable’, it added.

‘Without a fee rise, our underlying financial position will remain highly adverse and we will be unable to fund essential further improvements and continue to face negative reserves, meaning we would be unable to continue operating and meeting our regulatory responsibilities.’

We understand that this is a difficult time financially for registrants and if it was not necessary for us to increase our fees now, we would not be seeking to do so [HCPC statement]

A three-month HCPC consultation exercise over the proposals closed in December 2002. Almost nine respondents in 10 (88 per cent) – including registrants, individuals and organisations – who took part in online survey opposed the annual £19.62 increase. Of the eight organisations which submitted a response via email, seven rejected the increase – with one agreeing but with caveats.

CSP 'disappointed'

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’s (CSP) director of practice and development Ash James said: 'It is incredibly disappointing to see the HCPC have not listened to the overwhelming voice of those who contributed to their consultation.’

The announcement triggered a flurry of critical tweets from CSP members. Karen Robb said: ‘Indefensible and shocking rise in light of the crisis in pay and non stop increases in cost of living …. Might be the final straw for many AHPs.’

HCPC's mitigation measures'

The HCPC said it was implementing a series of mitigation measures, which included introducing more frequent direct debits as soon as practicable (as long as the requested fee increase received the green light). It would also work with employers to promote protected continuing professional development time, building on work it that had started. 

Council chair Christine Elliott said: ‘Council, which includes members who are registrants, and members from all UK nations, regretfully approved this essential and urgent uplift to fees.'

She added: ‘Council is deeply conscious of the serious cost of living pressures that registrants are contending with. The fee rise would go hand-in-hand with measures to mitigate the burden of the proposed increase. The HCPC is committed to providing excellent service at the lowest sustainable price.’

To find out more, visit: https://www.hcpc-uk.org/news-and-events/news/2023/hcpc-council-agrees-fee-rise-proposals/

To see an earlier PhysioUpdate article on the topic, visit: https://www.physioupdate.co.uk/news/regulator-invites-physiotherapists-to-comment-on-plans-to-raise-their-annual-fees-by-20-per-cent/

Author: Ian A McMillan

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