Elaine Buckley explains why the HCPC’s revised standards of conduct, performance and ethics matter to healthcare professionals and patients alike.
We published our revised standards of conduct, performance and ethics last month. These set out what is expected of you, or me, as a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registrant. Earlier versions provided guidance to me as I progressed in my career as a physiotherapist, and also helped me as an educator in articulating these expectations to students as they prepared to embark on their chosen profession. The standards are just as important to the HCPC as a regulator. They help us to determine suitability of character for individuals who apply to our register, and in cases where concerns are raised about a registrant’s fitness to practise.
I chaired the working group – called a professional liaison group (PLG) – that helped to revise the standards. I was impressed by the thoroughness of the process, particularly in terms of the gathering of evidence to inform any changes and the level of stakeholder engagement. The PLG included service users, carers, professional bodies, employers and registrants as members.
The process began with a number of commissioned projects capturing the views of a wide range of stakeholders. This included workshops with different groups of service users and carers; focus groups and interviews with registrants and employers; and discussion with fitness to practise (FtP) panel chairs.
The PLG then reviewed the evidence gathered, debated issues and suggested changes to the previous standards. This led to the development of a robust set of draft standards, which went out for public consultation UK-wide. The consultation elicited 217 responses from stakeholders including individual health and care professionals, professional bodies, employers and educators. In addition, we benefited enormously from the views of service users and carers.
The key changes from the previous version of the standards include a standard about reporting and escalating concerns about the safety and wellbeing of service users. There is also a standard about being open and honest when things go wrong: individuals are expected to tell service users and carers when they become aware that something has gone wrong with the care, treatment or other services that they provide and to take action to put matters right wherever possible. They are also required to consider making an apology and to make sure that the service user receives an explanation of what happened.
It was vital to refresh the standards so that they remained relevant for all the 16 professional groups that we regulate. Our registrants work across a range of settings: in the private sector, NHS and in local authorities, for example. This meant that the PLG’s discussions focused as much on format, as on content.
We hope the new concise layout will ensure ease of understanding for our registrants, and for service users and carers. Despite the new ‘look’ of the standards, registrants can be assured that the content remains consistent.
- Elaine Buckley is the chair HCPC
- For more information see the HCPC website here.
AuthorElaine Buckley chair HCPC
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