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Health and Care Professions Council Code of Practice

Health and Care Professions Council Code of Practice Issues

The Health and Care Professions Council Code (HCPC) uses 2 sets of standards:

  • Proficiency Standards [a separate set for each profession they regulate]
  • Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics [same for all professions]

These Health and Care Professions Council Code of Practice standards apply not only to registrants but also to people who are applying to become registered.

The standards are important in terms of assisting the HCPC make decisions about the character of people who apply to become registered but also in terms of whether a registrant is fit to practise.

The HCPC expect registrants to act as autonomous and accountable professionals making informed and reasonable decisions about their practise.

Health and Care Professions Council Code of Practice
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The standards set out in the Health and Care Professions Council Code of Practice are important in terms of assisting the HCPC make decisions about the character of people who apply to become registered but also in terms of whether a registrant is fit to practise."

Your Duties as a Registrant

The Health and Care Professions Council Code of Practice and conduct standards you must keep to include the following – click on the titles for more information on individual responsibilities.

1: You must act in the best interests of service users
HCPC registrants are personally responsible for making sure that they promote and protect the best interests of service users.

They must respect and take account of these factors when providing care or a service, and must not abuse the relationship they have with a service user.

Registrants must not allow views about a service user’s sex, age, colour, race, disability, sexuality, social or economic status, lifestyle, culture, religion or beliefs to affect the way they deal with them or the professional advice they give.

Registrants must treat service users with respect and dignity. They must work in partnership with service users and involve them in their care as appropriate.

HCPC registrants must not do anything, or allow someone else to do anything that they have good reason to believe will put the health, safety or wellbeing of a service user in danger. This includes both their actions and those of other people.

Registrants should take appropriate action to protect the rights of children and vulnerable adults if they believe they are at risk, including following national and local policies.

Registrants are responsible for their professional conduct, any care or advice they provide, and any failure to act. Registrants are responsible for the appropriateness of their decision to delegate a task. Registrants must be able to justify their decisions if asked to.

HCPC registrants must protect service users if they believe that any situation puts them in danger. This includes the conduct, performance or health of a colleague. The safety of service users must come before any personal or professional loyalties at all times. As soon as registrants become aware of a situation that puts a service user in danger, they should discuss the matter with a senior colleague or another appropriate person.

2: You must respect the confidentiality of service users
HCPC registrants must treat information about service users as confidential and use it only for the purposes they have provided it for. Registrants must not knowingly release any personal or confidential information to anyone who is not entitled to it, and they should check that people who ask for information are entitled to it.

Registrants must only use information about a service user:

– to continue to care for that person; or
– for purposes where that person has given them permission to use the information or the law allows them to do so.

Registrants must also keep to the conditions of any relevant data-protection laws and always follow best practice for handling confidential information. Best practice is likely to change over time, and registrants must stay up to date.

3: You must keep high standards of personal conduct
HCPC registrants must keep high standards of personal conduct, as well as professional conduct. Registrants should be aware that poor conduct outside of their professional life may still affect someone’s confidence in them and their profession.
4: You must provide (to us and any other relevant regulators) any important information about your conduct and competence
You must tell us (and any other relevant regulator) if you have important information about your conduct or competence or about other registrants and health and care professional you work with. In particular you must let us know straight away if you are:

  • Convicted of a criminal offence, receive a conditional discharge for an offence or, accept a police caution;
  • Disciplined by any organisation responsible for regulating or licensing a health or social care professional;
  • or Suspended or placed under a practice restriction by an employer or similar organization because of concerns about your conduct or competence
5: You must keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date
You must make sure that your knowledge, skills and performance are of a good quality, up-to-date and relevant to your scope of practice.

You must be capable of meeting the standards of proficiency that apply to your scope of practice. We recognize that your scope of practice may change over time.

Our standards for continuing professional development link your learning and development to your continued registration. You also needs to meet these standards.

6: You must act within the limits of your knowledge, skills and experience and, if necessary, refer the matter to another practitioner
You must keep within the scope of your practice. This means that you should only practise in the areas in which you have appropriate education, training and experience. We recognize that your scope of practice may change over time.

When accepting a service user, you have a duty of care. This includes the duty to refer them to others for care or services if it becomes clear that the task is beyond your scope of practice. If you refer a service user to another practitioner, you must make sure that the referral is appropriate and that, so far as possible, the service user understands why you are making the referral.

In some circumstances, a person is entitled to be referred to another practitioner for a second opinion. In these cases, you must accept the request and make the referral as soon as possible.

If you accept a referral from another practitioner, you must make sure that you fully understand the request. You should only provide the care or services if you believe that this is appropriate. If this is not the case, you must discuss the referral with the practitioner who made the referral and, as appropriate, the service user, before you provide any care or services.

7: You must communicate properly and effectively with service users and other practitioners
You must take all reasonable steps to make sure that you can communicate properly and effectively with service users. You must communicate appropriately, co-operate and share your knowledge and expertise with other practitioners, for the benefit of service users.
8: You must effectively supervise tasks you have asked other people to carry out
People who receive care or services from you are entitled to assume that you have the appropriate knowledge and skills to provide them safely and effectively. Whenever you give tasks to another person to carry out on your behalf, you must be sure that they have the knowledge, skills and experience to carry out the tasks safely and effectively. You must not ask them to do work which is outside their scope of practice.

You must always continue to give appropriate supervision to whoever you ask to carry out the task. You will still be responsible for the appropriateness of the decision to delegate. If someone tells you they are unwilling to carry out a task because they do not think they are capable of doing so safely or effectively, you must not force them to carry out the task anyway. If their refusal raises a disciplinary or training issue, you must deal with that separately, but you should not put the safety or well-being of the service user in danger.

9: You must get informed consent to provide care and services (so far as possible)
You must explain to service users the care or services you are planning to provide, any risks involved and other possible options.

You must make sure that you get their informed consent to any treatment you do carry out. You must make a record of the person’s decisions and pass this on to others involved in their care. In some situations, such as emergencies or where a person lacks decision-making capacity, it may not be possible for you to explain what you propose, get consent or pass on information. However, you should still try to do all of these things as far as you can.

A person who is capable of giving their consent has the right to refuse to receive care or services. You must respect this right. You must also make sure that they are fully aware of the risks of refusing care or services, particularly if you think that there is a significant or immediate risk to their life.

You must keep to your employers’ procedures on consent and be aware of any guidance issued by the appropriate authority in the country you practise in.

10: You must keep accurate records
Making and keeping records is an essential part of providing care or services and you must keep records for everyone you treat or for whom you provide care or services. You must complete all records promptly. If you are using paper-based records, they must be clearly written and easy to read, and you should write, sign and date all entries.

You have a duty to make sure, as far as possible, that records completed by students under your supervision are clearly written, accurate and appropriate.

Whenever you review records, you should update them and include a record of any arrangements you have made for the continuing care of the service user.

You must protect information in records from being lost, damaged, accessed by someone without appropriate authority, or tampered with. If you update a record, you must not delete information that was previously there, or make that information difficult to read. Instead, you must mark it in some way (for example, by drawing a line through the old information).

11: You must deal fairly and safely with the risks of infection
You must not refuse to treat someone just because they have an infection. Also, you must keep to the rules of confidentiality when dealing with people who have infections.

You must take appropriate precautions to protect your service users and yourself from infection. In particular, you should protect your service users from infecting one another. You must take precautions against the risk that you will infect someone else.

This is especially important if you suspect or know that you have an infection that could harm other people. If you believe or know that you may have this kind of infection, you must get medical advice and act on it. This may include the need for you to stop practising altogether, or to change your practice in some way in the best interests of protecting your service users.

12: You must limit your work or stop practising if your performance or judgement is affected by your health
You have a duty to take action if your physical or mental health could be harming your fitness to practise. You should get advice from a consultant in occupational health or another suitably qualified medical practitioner and act on it. This advice should consider whether, and in what ways, you should change your practice, including stopping practising if this is necessary.
13: You must behave with honesty and integrity and make sure that your behaviour does not damage the public’s confidence in you or your profession
You must justify the trust that other people place in you by acting with honesty and integrity at all times. You must not get involved in any behaviour or activity which is likely to damage the public’s confidence in you or your profession.
14: You must make sure that any advertising you do is accurate
Any advertising you do in relation to your professional activities must be accurate. Advertisements must not be misleading, false, unfair or exaggerated. In particular, you should not claim your personal skills, equipment or facilities are better than anyone else’s, unless you can prove this is true. If you are involved in advertising or promoting any product or service, you must make sure that you use your knowledge, skills and experience in an accurate and responsible way. You must not make or support unjustifiable statements relating to particular products. Any potential financial reward should not play a part in the advice or recommendations of products and services you give.

Making Informed and Reasonable Decisions

The HCPC expect registrants to make informed, reasonable and professional judgements about their practise, with the best interests of service users as their prime concern.

They expect registrants to be able to justify their decisions if asked. By ‘informed’, the HCPC means that registrants have enough information to make a decision. This would include reading these standards and taking account of any other relevant guidance or laws. By ‘reasonable’, the HCPC means that registrants need to make sensible, practical decisions about their practice, taking account of all relevant information and the best interests of the people who use or are affected by their services.

Health and Care Professions Council Code of Practice issues?

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If you are a health or care professional facing issues with the Health and Care Professions Council Code of Practice, or you have been referred to the HCPC for investigation then HCPC Defence Barristers can help. Our aim is to provide health and social care professionals with high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services, to provide value for money in the services we give to clients and to make sure our clients have confidence in our services.

Please contact us as soon as possible if you are facing issues with Health and Care Professions Council Code of Practice issues.

 

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