How do HCPC investigations work?
The MedicAssistanceScheme offers advice and representation for professionals undergoing a HCPC investigation. The process can be long and challenging, which is why our specialist solicitors will work closely with you to help you understand the investigation and to get the best result from the process.
What kind of allegations are investigated by the HCPC?
HCPC investigations are held to examine allegations against a registrant’s fitness to practise. It will be alleged that the fitness to practise is impaired due to lack of competence, misconduct, physical or mental ill health, a caution/conviction for a criminal offence, listing on the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), or a result of a decision by a different health and social care regulator.
How does the HCPC investigate allegations?
If you are the subject of an HCPC investigation regarding fitness to practise, you will be informed that the investigation has begun. The HCPC will begin by assembling relevant pieces of information about the concern being investigated. The information can be gathered from a range of sources involved in the case. Depending on the nature of the concern, this can include your employer whom the HCPC may contact direct.
When the initial stage of the investigation has been completed, the information collected will be measured against the HCPC threshold fitness to practise criteria. The outcome of this will determine whether the HCPC considers a registrant’s fitness to practise to be impaired. If the threshold is met, the matter will be passed onto the Investigating Committee to decide if there is a case that needs to be answered. If the threshold isn’t met, the case will be closed and no further action will be taken.
Dealing with serious concerns
If a reported concern is deemed to be extremely serious, it will meet the threshold criteria automatically without undergoing an initial investigation stage. These concerns are immediately passed on to the Investigating Committee as it is likely that the action required will involve a registrant’s registration status.
What is an HCPC interim order?
The majority of HCPC investigations will not require an Interim Order hearing. But if you are served with notice about an interim order hearing, then please contact us for advice. Interim order hearings are risk assessments to decide if it is necessary to impose conditions or to suspend the professional pending the outcome of the fitness to practise process.
Interim Orders are usually imposed when the allegations involve severe concerns which could risk public safety or are otherwise in the public interest. They can also be served when the HCPC considers it to be of benefit to the registrant.
If an Interim Order is applied for, you will be notified by the HCPC and they will provide you with a copy of all relevant documents. Please note that Interim Orders are usually scheduled at very short notice, but most registrants should receive seven days’ notice of an Interim Order hearing.
What sanctions may be imposed at a HCPC fitness to practise hearing?
Possible sanctions which can be imposed at a fitness to practise hearing, in which fitness to practise has been determined to be impaired, include:
- No further action or order mediation
- A formal caution to the registrant (this stays on the registration for a maximum of five years)
- Certain conditions of practise which must be adhered to by the registrant
- Suspension from practise (for a maximum of one year)
- Being struck off the Register.
Can you appeal the results of an HCPC fitness to practise hearing?
If you would like to appeal the results of your HCPC fitness to practise hearing, you have a 28-day window after the day of the decision in which to file your appeal with the High Court. If you intend to lodge an appeal, you should contact us immediately for crucial advice on the possible outcomes for your case.