‘Do I need to tell the HCPC if I have been charged with a criminal offence?’
The short answer is yes, as not doing so can have potentially serious consequences on your ability to practise.
Standard 9.5 of the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) Standards of conduct, performance and ethics requires you to tell the HCPC ‘as soon as possible’ if you are charged with, or found guilty of, a criminal offence, and also if you accept a caution from the police.
A delay in telling the HCPC about any of these circumstances could look deliberate.
I have represented members in cases where there has been a delay and the HCPC has charged the member with dishonesty. Dishonesty is taken very seriously by Health and Care Profession Tribunal (HCPTS) panels deciding HCPC allegations and, if proven, could lead to members being struck off.
The most common criminal offences for members that I see are drink-driving convictions. Members who have not reported their convictions have thought they did not need to because it was not something that occurred as part of their work as a physiotherapist.
If you do get a conviction, then it is reasonably likely that there will be a hearing and a HCPTS panel is likely to decide your fitness to practise is impaired because of the conviction.
This is because panels will follow HCPTS guidance that says:
In considering the nature, circumstances and gravity of the offence, panels need to take account of public protection in its broadest sense, including whether the registrant’s actions bring the profession concerned into disrepute or may undermine public confidence in that profession.
For very serious convictions this could lead to strike off but other likely sanctions are a period of suspension from the register or a caution.
- Godric Jolliffe is a solicitor employed by the CSP as its national legal officer
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