HCPC Investigations Frequently Asked Questions
- 1 1. Who does the HCPC regulate?
- 2 2. Who might have referred me to the HCPC?
- 3 3. What sort of allegations will be investigated during HCPC Investigations?
- 4 4. What if I am the subject of a criminal investigation by the police as well as an HCPC investigation?
- 5 5. What should I do if I have been referred for an HCPC Investigation?
- 6 6. What is the process for HCPC investigations?
- 7 7. What is an HCPC Interim Order?
- 8 8. How will the HCPC investigate the allegations against me?
- 9 9. What will happen at the Fitness to Practise Hearing from the HCPC?
- 10 10. Do I have a right of appeal against the HCPC’s findings during HCPC investigations?
- 11 11. Ask another question
Welcome to Richard Nelson LLP’s Guide to HCPC Investigations. Here you’ll find the most frequently asked questions our HCPC Lawyers get asked around HCPC Investigations. To get started, scroll through the content below to see which questions applies to you. We’ve ensured each question contains a legal-jargon-free answer to ensure your query gets answered quickly, regardless of the healthcare profession you’re involved with.
Have any further questions? If your question isn’t resolved below then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our HCPC Lawyers for more specialist insight and advice surrounding HCPC Investigations.
1. Who does the HCPC regulate?
The HCPC regulates a wide variety of health and care professionals including; arts therapists, biomedical scientists, chiropodists/podiatrists, clinical scientists, dietitians, hearing aid dispensers, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, practitioner psychologists, prosthetists/orthotists, radiographers, social workers in England and speech and language therapists.
2. Who might have referred me to the HCPC?
Referrals can be from a variety of sources but are commonly made by NHS Trusts, other employers, the police, other registrants, service users and other professionals.
3. What sort of allegations will be investigated during HCPC Investigations?
HCPC investigations involve allegations that suggest that a registrant’s fitness to practise may be impaired. These allegations begin when someone raises a ‘concern’ about an HCPC registrant. If a concern is deemed an issue that the council should look into, the will begin the process by formalising an allegation. This may be for a number of reasons, such as:
- Lack of Competence;
- A criminal conviction or caution;
- A determination by another regulatory body; or
- Being included on a barred list preventing a registrant from working with vulnerable adults or children.
The HCPC will investigate issues relating to your professional life and in some circumstances even your personal life.
4. What if I am the subject of a criminal investigation by the police as well as an HCPC investigation?
Unfortunately, HCPC registrants occasionally find themselves the subject of a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings. We understand how difficult this can be and work hard to protect you, both with the HCPC and with any criminal investigation or proceedings. We work to ensure you have the best possible prospect of maintaining your reputation.
Richard Nelson LLP draws from a team of expert solicitors. We have experience with HCPC matters and also in defending a wide range of criminal allegations. It is essential to obtain legal advice from specialist lawyers with expertise in both criminal matters and also in HCPC proceedings, rather than a general criminal solicitor. We understand the impact a criminal investigation can have on your HCPC registration and will fight to protect your career.
We can represent HCPC registrants in the police station, the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court, mindful of the significance of the proceedings to you both personally and professionally. We can also put you in touch with a specialist solicitor for advice on getting a caution removed from your record if appropriate.
We have particular expertise in representing HCPC registrants in the HCPC regarding misconduct allegations due to criminal convictions or cautions. With our background, we can easily understand the criminal file and ascertain the relevant issues, ensuring that we robustly defend you before the HCPC.
5. What should I do if I have been referred for an HCPC Investigation?
- Continue to practise, unless an interim order suspending you has been issued;
- Consider telling your employer that you are under investigation by the HCPC and ask them about the possibility of providing a reference for you;
- Contact us for confidential legal advice as soon as possible and certainly before providing your response to the HCPC about the allegations against you, as otherwise, you may risk prejudicing your case;
- Cooperate with and engage in the process throughout, supplying any responses and references by the stated deadlines;
- Keep the HCPC informed of any change in your personal contact details.
6. What is the process for HCPC investigations?
The first stage in HCPC investigations involves the HCPC writing to the registrant, providing them with details of the allegation and providing an opportunity for the registrant to comment within 28 days. In our experience, emotionally charged, poorly drafted submissions can make matters significantly worse. However carefully drafted submissions at this stage may persuade the Investigating Committee that the ‘realistic prospect’ test is not met, bringing the HCPC investigation to an end. It is therefore essential to get expert legal advice before responding to the HCPC.
7. What is an HCPC Interim Order?
The HCPC can refer you for an interim order hearing at any point during their investigation. At an interim order hearing, a panel will decide whether to suspend your registration or restrict you from practising, whilst the allegations against you remain unresolved. If the HCPC make an interim order against you, it will be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain satisfied that it is necessary and to consider your representations. To maximise your prospects in an HCPC interim order hearing, you should ensure that you contact us for urgent legal representation.
8. How will the HCPC investigate the allegations against me?
If an allegation has been made that questions your fitness to practise, the HCPC will investigate the matter. They will take witness statements, collate documentary evidence and liaise with your current employer. They will also take into account your version of events. To have the best prospect of concluding the HCPC’s investigation as swiftly as possible, it is essential to have legal advice to assist you with presenting your case as effectively as possible.
9. What will happen at the Fitness to Practise Hearing from the HCPC?
The HCPTS lists fitness to practise hearings before either the Conduct and Competence Committee or the Health Committee. The Committees will hear evidence from both parties and will decide whether the facts of the allegations have been proved and if so whether your fitness to practise is impaired.
If the panel decides that your fitness to practise is not impaired, they can:
- Take no further action; or
- Issue a warning.
If the panel decides that your fitness to practise is impaired, they have the following range of sanctions available to them:
- No further action;
- Mediation (where appropriate);
- Issue a Caution, a warning against your name on the Register;
- Impose Conditions of Practise on your registration;
- Suspend your Registration;
- Strike Off.
For more information on HCPC Fitness to Practise, read our dedicated HCPC Fitness to Practise guide.
10. Do I have a right of appeal against the HCPC’s findings during HCPC investigations?
You have 28 days from the day of the HCPC’s Conduct and Competence Committee or Health Committee decision to lodge an appeal in the High Court. If you are considering lodging an appeal to the High Court, you should contact us for urgent advice about your prospects of success.
If you have any further questions about the HCPC’s fitness to practise process or wish to discuss HCPC investigations, then please contact us in strict confidence and without obligation. One of our expert defence lawyers for HCPC registrants will be happy to discuss your case.
11. Ask another question
Do you have another question relating to HCPC investigations that haven’t been covered in our guide? Feel free to ask Richard Nelson LLP’s HCPC investigation solicitors and we’ll endeavour to get back in touch with you as soon as possible.
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