You owe a ‘duty of care’ to your patients, your colleagues and other people you come into contact with. Sometimes you may have to report incidents or concerns to your employer, the HCPC, or other body. This is your ‘duty to report’.
Whether you are a physiotherapist, associate or a physiotherapy student, it’s important that you understand these obligations. You must also understand how they link to other aspects of professionalism such as confidentiality, data protection and safeguarding.
Your duty to report yourself
Scenarios under which you have a duty to report yourself include:
- Criminal convictions or cautions
- Regulatory complaints
- Disciplinary matters
- Health issues if impacting your fitness to practise
- Potential indemnity claims against you
Your duty to report other people
There are also circumstances under which you have a duty to report other people:
- Fellow health professionals – if you suspect misconduct; inappropriate sexual behaviour with a patient; or doubt their fitness to practice
- Patients – if presenting as ‘real and immediate’ danger to themselves or others or showing signs female genital mutilation.
- Safeguarding - someone suffering, or is at risk of harm, either at home or in an organisation that cares for them.
- Your employer - if you believe patient safety or the standard of care is being compromised
The duty of other people to report you
Sometimes other people or agencies have a duty to report you to the HCPC or your employer: These include:
- Police forces
- The HCPC
- Your employer
- Your colleagues
- Patients and the public
Whistleblowing refers to the act of making a disclosure of information that is in the public interest. Making a public interest disclosure is an extremely serious action and demonstrates that all other appropriate means of raising concerns have failed.