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BPS updates

About the Practice Board’s HCPC Subgroup

The Practice Board’s HCPC Subgroup has now been established for over a year, principally to improve liaison between the Society and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

20 September 2022

By BPS Practice Board

We continue to meet with Kellie Green, HCPC’s Head of Professionalism and Upstream Regulation, on a regular basis.

We had an important meeting to better understand the role of HCPC Partners with Uta Pollmann, HCPC’s Partner Project Lead. Partners are registrants who are appointed to assist with the processes of registration, Fitness to Practice (FtP) and Education provision (Approval and monitoring). The society offered to assist with recruitment of Partners if needed.

 We also sought to clarify how partners are involved and to provide feedback to enhance their processes. For example, we learned that for a FtP panel registrants will be from same profession (Practitioner Psychologists) but may not be from the same modality (e.g. Health/Clinical/Counselling etc) – this will depend on the nature of the allegation. If it is practice related, they will be from the same modality. This seemed reasonable and we will be exploring how psychologists are engaged with registration and education approval. In particular, we are seeking clarification that assessors for registrants are from the same domain of psychology. 

HCPC/BPS Webinar

Society members will be leading on the first ever HCPC/BPS Webinar. The topic is supervision. 

BPS Involvement in HCPC Staff Induction/Development

We have organised a series of CPD sessions for HCPC staff to brief them about the society and each of the domains of Practitioner Psychologists. This is to try improve HCPC’s staff understanding of the work and context of psychologists from each of the Divisions (described by HCPC as modalities).

Fitness to Practise (FtP)

The society continues to receive a small number of enquiries related to difficulties with FtP whilst we cannot comment on ‘live’ cases we have agreed with the HCPC a process whereby we can highlight administrative errors, long delayed cases, and long delays to registration and ask them to take action. We hope this will help members experiencing difficulties with HCPC processes.

It is important for members to know that your professional indemnity insurers are an excellent source of help and support as are the Trade Unions (should you be a member of one). 

Remote FtP Hearings

HCPC held a number of ‘remote hearing’ webinars recently.

Their decision document with a full breakdown of the consultation and outcomes can be found here.

The HCPC have also posted one of the webinar sessions online which has the slides included for your reference (find the webinar on YouTube or access the webinar on the HCPC website). In brief, not all FTP hearings will be held remotely, some will be held face to face or hybrid. Decisions will be made on a case by case basis.

Standards of Proficiency (SoPs)

Please note the new Standards of Proficiency for psychologists come into effect from 1 September 2023. Further details about the new Standards of Proficiency can be found here.

Renewals and Registration

The HCPC recognised that it got the renewal process for psychologists in 2021 wrong. We were then very surprised when similar difficulties arose with the renewals for Physiotherapists. 5750 Physiotherapists were removed from the register. This meant they had to stop advising or seeing patients as a registered practitioner with immediate effect. It was possible they could undertake duties as an associate or undertake delegated duties. They could not use the protected titles of “Physiotherapist” or “Physical Therapist” until their HCPC registration was confirmed. The society previously advised HCPC that they need to use all the communications channels open to them including letters, emails and text messaging. We will maintain a watching brief. Please note psychologists are scheduled for renewal in the spring of 2023.

Professional Standards Authority (PSA)

The Professional Standards Authority has published, The Health and Care Professions Council, Performance Review – Monitoring year 2021/22.

While the HCPC met the majority of the PSA’s standards it has not met four out of the five standards related to Fitness to Practise issues in the last six years. The society had offered its assistance in a review of FTP processes. However, during our liaison meeting it was thought that if this were to happen it would have to be, by necessity, after the current Government consultation on regulatory reform had concluded. Additionally, we are in dialogue with the PSA on raising awareness about regulation in psychology and sources of reliable practitioners. 

Next Steps

We continue to meet with HCPC colleagues on a regular basis and raise matters that have been drawn to our attention by members. Please do contact us if there are areas of improvement we can work on with the HCPC.

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