Advice Line - Outside your scope

Sally Gosling looks at why all physios should register with the HPC, wherever they work Outside your Scope

Many physiotherapists will have received their registration renewal notices from the Health Professions Council (HPC) over recent weeks.

The HPC has sent out a total of 46,689 notices to physiotherapists, with returns needed by 30 April.

Some feedback to the CSP suggests members feel they either cannot, or do not need to, renew their registration if they no longer practise clinically.

This raises the importance of looking at how the HPC approaches scope of practice.

When the HPC was formed, the CSP argued that a broad approach to scope should be taken. Not to recognise management, education, research and policy work as integral to health professionals’ activity would form an overly narrow view of their practice.

It would risk managers, leaders, educators and researchers – who can have a profound influence on the services that patients receive – not being duly accountable for their decisions and actions.

This would undermine public protection, while individuals in these significant roles would no longer be seen as being members of their profession, to the detriment of its development and profile.

The HPC adopted a broad interpretation of scope. It recognises the dynamic nature of registrants’ practice as they move through their career and seize opportunities for professional development.

The introduction to the Standards of Proficiency (the standards on which registration renewals hinge) makes this clear: ‘a registrant’s scope of practice will change over time... This might be because of... a movement into roles in management, education or research’ (HPC, 2007).

The HPC therefore understands that experienced registrants will demonstrate fulfilment of its standards within the context of their personal scope.

This logically extends to how it expects its CPD requirements to be fulfilled: ‘When you are planning or undertaking your CPD you will need to make sure it is relevant to your work’ (HPC, 2011). Registrants’ CPD profile needs to align with their professional role, demonstrating how they have addressed their current, personal learning needs.

All qualified members therefore need strongly to consider the importance of retaining HPC registration, and thereby entitlement to all the benefits of full-practising CSP membership.

Useful links:


Sally Gosling is CSP’s assistant director for practice and development

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Sally Gosling

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