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Staffing issuesJan 14, 2021

HCPC seeks to allay registrants' 'anxieties' over practising while pandemic continues

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has joined other health and social care regulators in a bid to allay ‘anxieties’ associated with practising during the ‘highly challenging circumstances’ created by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

In a joint statement released on 13 January, the HCPC acknowledges that physiotherapists and their colleagues may have to ‘depart from established procedures’ in order to provide care.

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Professionals may have to 'depart from established procedures' in current situation

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‘We recognise that in highly challenging circumstances, professionals may need to depart from established procedures … our regulatory standards are designed to be flexible and to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations’.

concerns ... will always be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working

‘We recognise that the individuals on our registers may feel anxious about how context is taken into account when concerns are raised about their decisions and actions in very challenging circumstances.’

Such concerns ‘will always be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working’, the statement noted.

‘We would also take account of any relevant information about resource, guidelines or protocols in place at the time.’

Use 'professional judgement'

‘We encourage health and social care professionals, working in partnership with each other and people using services, to use their professional judgement to assess risk and to deliver safe care informed by any relevant guidance and the values and principles set out in their professional standards.’

The statement also stressed that professionals should continue to ‘practise in line with the best available evidence, to recognise and work within the limits of their competence, and to have appropriate indemnity arrangements relevant to their practice’.

At the end of the joint statement, the regulators add:  ‘We will continue to issue profession specific guidance to our registrants to provide additional support where that is needed.’

In a preamble to the joint statement, the HCPC thanked professionals for their contribution in ‘very difficult and challenging circumstances’.

‘With the production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines underway, some of our registrants are leading the effort to vaccinate people as quickly as possible, while others continue to play a vital role in helping to treat and care for people with coronavirus and to contain its spread.

‘We know that the current surge in cases means that all health and social care professionals are likely to face an increased burden, and they may continue to have concerns about decisions they need to take in order to provide the best care in challenging circumstances.’


As well as the HCPC, the statement was issued by:

  • General Chiropractic Council
  • General Medical Council
  • General Optical Council
  • General Osteopathic Council
  • General Pharmaceutical Council
  • Health and Care Professions Council
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
  • Social Work England

See: https://www.hcpc-uk.org/news-and-events/news/2021/joint-statement-from-chief-executives-of-statutory-regulators/

Author: Ian A McMillan
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