HCPC preventative approach to reduce ‘stressful’ fitness to practice investigations

New ways of working and a compassionate culture is regulator’s new focus

Published: 02 February 2021 HCPC

HCPC is to create a compassionate and empathic culture towards fitness to practice investigations and adopt a prevention-focused regulatory approach.

Fitness to practice concerns for radiographers and all AHP professions has increased from 1,653 in 2012/13 to 2,424 in 2018/19.

The worst area of performance for the HCPC is in fitness to practice according to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) which oversees the nine UK health regulators.

The current approach is ‘stressful for all those involved’, said a HCPC press statement, and ‘costly’ to the regulator.

It is hoped the prevention-focused regulatory approach supported by three of its six new strategies in HCPC Corporate Strategy 2021-2026 will address this.

HCPC’s Fitness to Practice Improvement Programme has influenced this change.

Creating a learning and growing culture and developing a compassionate approach to fitness to practice investigations is one of its three aims to improve on fitness to practice.

In this new programme it has focused on three areas: enablers, process improvement and culture change.

Enablers and process improvement focuses on effective case management, decision making and improved recruitment and retention.

In HCPC’s report, Protecting the public Promoting professionalism: Fitness to practise annual report 2019, radiography professionals made up just 0.20 per cent of fitness to practice concerns.

Over half, 35 out of 69 cases, were not taken to ICP meaning the allegations did not meet requirements for acceptance.

Out of the 69 cases 24 resulted in a sanction, but over the years there has been a decrease for all the 15 professions as a whole.

No restrictions imposed at Investigating Committee Panels (ICPs) rose from 23.7 per cent in 2012 / 13 to 31.2 per cent in 2018 / 19.

Three of the six new strategies in the new HCPC Corporate Strategy 2021-2026 focus on improved fitness to practice for allied healthcare professionals.

The six aims are to: continuously improve and innovate, develop insight and exert influence, build a resilient, healthy, capable and sustainable organisation, promote high quality professional practice, be visible, engaged and informed, and promoting the value of regulation.

Christine Elliott, Chair of the HCPC, said: ‘This strategy will help us to lock in the new ways of working that we have developed and the rapid improvements we’ve made.’

The prevention regulatory approach was explored as far back as 2018 in HCPC’s professionalism and prevention paper.

The next fitness to practice report has been delayed due to the pandemic and is yet to be laid in Parliament.