This information is for radiographers and former radiographers enquiring about supporting services during Covid-19 and who are:
First and foremost, thank you for offering your support, please read the information below to see where and how you might be able to help.
The need of local employers is likely to change over time; the advice and guidance given now may be updated as time goes on. Please refer regularly to this page for updated information.
The following advice draws from the government and NHS Employers’ advice and guidance associated with the Coronavirus Act, and in particular measures to facilitate a temporary register for final year students and those returning to practice and the HCPC advice in this regard (see)
The advice aims to:
It is now clear that all people who have chosen to leave the HCPC professional register in the last three years will automatically be entered onto a temporary public register. The Register will therefore show who could be available to practice under the terms of the temporary licence.
Students could be included in this. This was the Government and HCPC’s plan until concerns from AHP unions and others has prompted a suspension until at least Tuesday, 31 March.
No-one who is or was subject to a fitness to practice order in the past will be included on the Temporary Register.
Accordingly, there is no registration fee for joining the Temporary Register.
The Temporary Register is only intended to be in place for the period of the Covid-19 crisis and is incorporated into the Coronavirus Act, which is itself time limited and subject to periodic review. This means that if someone returns to practice on the Temporary Register they will be expected to fully re-register to continue practicing once the crisis is deemed to have ended.
Any complaints raised with the HCPC about the practice of someone on the Temporary Register will lead to that person being immediately removed from the Temporary Register. There will be no investigation or appeal. This would mean that there is no longer term impact on their ability to join the full register, either for students joining the scheme or for returning practitioners, once the Covid-19 crisis has passed. However, SoR members facing a removal that they think is unfair or unjustified could raise a grievance or complaint with their employer. Before doing so they’d be advised to contact the SoR for advice. We could challenge employers about the validity of such a referral where this is justified by the evidence.
Most people on the Temporary Register are not expected to be covering a complicated or complex set of duties and it is expected that they will be employed on the AfC Band 5 as a minimum. However, if someone returning is doing the same role they were doing before then they should be paid at their former salary level.
The professional risks for those returning, such as for final year students, or for others carrying out new or different work, are recognised in the government’s advice, the Act and by the HCPC. They all stress that it will be the responsibility of local leaders to deploy people safely.
Temporary registrants will be expected to follow the core principles of professional practice, with the HCPC especially emphasising an expectation they:
The government stresses that the usual professional indemnity insurance will cover everyone working in the NHS, who will be deemed to be employed to facilitate this, ie they will be indemnified by the employer’s vicarious liability policy. In addition, anyone currently engaged outside the NHS who joins the Temporary Register will be covered by the NHS cover. The professional indemnity cover offered by the Society of Radiographers as a member benefit will support this. If you are working outside of an employment contract, then the position is as it is now: you will need your own primary professional indemnity insurance
Additionally, the government has provided assurances that it will provide indemnity for clinical negligence liabilities arising from NHS activities carried out for the purposes of dealing with, or because of, the coronavirus outbreak, where there is no existing indemnity arrangement in place. This will ensure that those providing healthcare service activity across the UK are legally protected for the work they are required to undertake as part of the Covid-19 response. This is in line with and will complement existing arrangements. This kind of government underwritten guarantee is rare and has apparently been included in the Act to emphasise that government will stand by healthcare workers during the crisis.
The SoR welcomes this balanced approach in the circumstances: affording protection for staff who want to say 'no' to doing something they do not feel it is safe for them to do, whilst offering the flexibility necessary to support people happy to do a wider range of tasks under appropriate professional supervision and direction.
However, the SoR naturally is also concerned that this system is untested. Therefore, we will extend full membership to all SoR members on the Temporary Register - even if members are technically retired members (or potentially students), at no extra cost. This also means that returnees can re-join the SoR as retired members at this present time. If the scheme is extended to third year students they will continue to receive six months' free full membership if they become active on the Temporary Register (see more details in our advice to students which will be published after the HCPC have decided if students are to be included on the Temporary Register).
Full membership will entitle these members to access the Society’s professional indemnity policy, provided they meet the conditions outlined above
All existing staff should continue to be paid as normal. As would be the case in other times where someone was asked to work differently, or do additional work to cover someone at a lower grade,all pay should be at their full normal rate.
Temporary Registrants will expect to be paid at Band 5, as stated above.
Volunteers doing other work supporting the NHS or Health and social care can gain access to Emergency Volunteer Leave, which is facilitated in the Bill, and claim statutory unpaid leave. In addition, the government is working on guidance so that volunteers can fully recover any lost earnings and expenses. More details will emerge as this plan is finalised but government is in consultation with unions across health and social care, and the TUC.
Such volunteers will also “only be placed on volunteering activities where appropriate indemnity arrangements are in place”. Full details of how this will work have not yet been developed and published. However, the SoR believe that local leaders will be expected to be responsible for assessing what is safe and maintaining this requirement. This would mean that were something to happen, and it was considered the volunteer was operating beyond what would have been deemed appropriate, the manager would be responsible and the indemnity would likely cover them, except where the volunteer had consciously acted beyond their instructions and capacity.
ALL MEMBERS ARE REMINDED THAT, ESPECIALLY AT A TIME LIKE THIS, THE SoR OFFERS EXCEPTIONAL SUPPORT AND ADVICE ON PROFESSIONAL ISSUES, HCPC REFERRALS AND PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE
Any member who ever feels they may be at risk of being referred to the HCPC should make contacting the SoR their first priority before responding in any other way. Covid-19 doesn’t change that in any way.
If students are incorporated into the scheme and become active, they should be entitled to be auto-enrolled in the NHS pension scheme, although this hasn’t as yet been specifically mentioned in government or NHS Employers’ advice and guidance.
Returnees who may be in receipt of their NHS pension will have restrictions and penalties built into the NHS Pension scheme lifted to encourage them to return. This includes:
The SoR welcomes these initiatives as sensible and recognises the need to incentivise and reward staff to come back to work in a time of crisis. However, we will be looking closely at what happens after the crisis ends. Given that there was a massive recruitment and retention challenge across the NHS already in more normal times, if these incentives work there would be an argument to carry on paying these to retain this incentive should people wish to continue to support an overstretched service. However, this would have wider implications across the pension debate.
Those who have been of the register more than three years will not be able to practice as radiographers without completing the HCPC standard return to practice process to regain their registration.
You may want to consider this option should the staff crisis be prolonged.
Alternatively, you can return in a volunteer role, or even as paid staff using your skills and knowledge to release a radiographer into a more critical role. NHS Employers have written some useful information specifically relating to volunteer workers.
You should contact your local employer either through their volunteer department, HR Department or directly to the clinical service manager. It is worth checking an organisation’s website to see if they have a ‘Covid hub’ as there may be a direct link for retired professionals to make contact.
If you are already employed full-time, you will need to speak to your current employer regarding being released for other duties. You must clarify and understand the terms of your employment contract for both your current employer and your prospective employer. The SCoR TUIR department may be able to assist with specific queries.
For those in receipt of an NHS ill-health retirement pension, you should enquire either with NHS Pensions, or with the NHS pensions department at your proposed employer, to make sure any work you do, paid or voluntary, does not have an impact on your retirement arrangements.
The same information as we have shared with those being asked to work in other roles will apply to you as you move in to support services. You will need to take account of any additional training needs and professional practice considerations.
You should contact your local employer either through their volunteer department, HR department, or directly to the clinical service manager. It is worth checking an organisation’s website to see if they have a ‘Covid hub’ as there may be a direct link for retired professionals to make contact.
The following is from Public Health England. Points 1, 5 and 6 apply to England only.
The employer provides the primary public liability insurance and should have something in place for their volunteers. You should check this before you start work. Those of you who are SoR members will benefit from our PII as long as you meet the criteria.
We will provide updates on our website as soon as is possible and in response to publication of new guidance.
As the situation is ever-evolving, it is important to follow the changing local and government advice.
The change should only be implemented for urgent cases where it is not possible to follow the normal identity checking guidelines.