Wherever you can help, you’re needed
As a highly skilled, experienced AHP who may have temporarily or permanently left the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) register, we are seeking your support to join the fight against COVID-19. There are a number of different ways you can support the existing NHS workforce and local communities that include both direct and non-direct care.
COVID-19 has the potential to put huge additional demand on our NHS and health care systems so in response the government is granting emergency powers to allow the HCPC to award temporary registration to certain groups of suitably experienced people. This includes AHPs who have voluntarily left the register within recent years and may wish to return to practice or third year students who are placed on a temporary register.
By offering to return, you can make a significant difference, not just to patients and those we care for, but to colleagues and the wider community we serve.
This isn’t only about clinically treating those with COVID-19. Members of the general public may feel anxious and welcome reassurance as a highly respected and experience healthcare professional. Your expertise may be able to offer help and support in so many ways through a wide range of valuable roles and in a range of settings.
We greatly appreciate the time and effort that you have already given as AHP and you should be assured we are taking steps to make returning to practice as easy and safe as possible for you should you wish to do so.
If you willing to help please register at the following link - https://www.hscworkforceappeal.co.uk/
Your expertise and experience will be valued beyond measure in these challenging times.
Questions you may be considering:
What do these emergency powers mean? Do I need to do anything to re-register with HCPC?
AHPs who have voluntarily left the HCPC register will automatically be added to a temporary part of the register in order be able to work should they chose to. You do not need to apply to re-register and you do not need to pay a fee.
How does the temporary Register Work?
Rregistration on the COVID-19 temporary Register is automatic.
A list of eligible former registrants is available on the website. This will continue to be updated, as more individuals become eligible. Name, location and past registration number (for former registrants) or name of the education and training provider (for third year students) is provided to identify eligible individuals.
If your name is on this list, and you would like to offer to support your profession in the COVID-19 pandemic, you do not need to do anything further with HCPC in order to practice. You will have or will be receiving a letter from HCPC will further information on the next steps.
Allied Health Professions Students
There will be different arrangements for AHP students according to which year of study you are currently in. You will receive information from your university regarding this. AHP students must discuss their eligibility with their university.
Universities are working to provide additional information to guide and support you in making relevant decisions.
If you have trained in a University outside of Northern Ireland but would like to work in Northern Ireland as part of COVID-1 please register for workforce appeal launched to support Health and Social Care within Northern Ireland – here is the link https://www.hscworkforceappeal.co.uk/
Guidance can also be found on the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) website https://www.hcpc-uk.org/covid-19/advice/advice-for-students/ to support students in making an informed decision.
AHP students should work to HCPC standards https://www.hcpc-uk.org/standards/
There is also supporting information available on the HCPC website https://www.hcpc-uk.org/covid-19/ or your relevant professional body.
Charter Society of Physiotherapy http://www.csp.org.uk/
The Society and College of Radiographers http://www.sor.org.uk/
Royal College of Occupational Therapy http://www.cot.org.uk/
The College of Paramedics http://www.collegeofparamedics.co.uk/home/
The British Dietetic Association http://www.bda.uk.com/
Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists http://www.rcslt.org/
The College of Podiatry https://cop.org.uk/
When does my temporary re-registration come into effect?
This process will come into effect from the 27th March 2020. If you have not been contacted about your re-registration and feel you should have been, please contact HCPC email@example.com.
Is returning to work voluntary?
Yes, this process is completely voluntary. Wherever and however you can help, you’re needed, and we would be extremely grateful for any support that you are able to offer. However, if you choose not to remain on the temporary register there will be details within the HCPC letter you receive as to what you need to do next to ‘opt-out’. Of course, opting out will not be detrimental to future employment or career opportunities to those who may choose not to temporarily register.
I do not want to go back into practice. What do I need to do?
There is no need to do anything further. The COVID-19 temporary Register simply provides for a list of eligible professionals who could go back into practice, if they choose to.
By creating this Register, we are removing the regulatory barrier to practice that de-registered professionals and third year students would otherwise face. This is to ensure that HSCNI is as prepared as it can be for the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this does not confer any duty on you to go back into practice if you do not want to, or do not feel you would be able to safely and effectively.
If you would like us to remove your name from the COVID-19 temporary Register, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What sort of work might I be expected to do?
There are a range of different roles that you might want to consider, these include (but aren’t limited to): supporting clinical teams in HSCNI services, in acute, community or primary care (this could be via telephone), providing education or training to other clinicians and providing routine clinical cover.
Your role will be very much dependent upon your expertise and skills, what you feel comfortable doing and the need within your local areas.
In these challenging circumstances it is recognised that as clinicians we may be asked to work outside our normal field of practice and the regulators have published a joint statement to explain this, to support you, you can access this herehttps://www.hcpc-uk.org/news-and-events/news/2020/statement-from-uk-chief-ahp-officers-and-the-hcpc/.
Once I’ve accepted temporary registration, what happens next?
With your permission, your contact details will be passed on to the teams working within your local or preferred areas so that they can begin talking through your options with you.
If I decide I want to remain on the register and work, what support will I be offered?
When you have followed the instructions in your HCPC letter completed confirming your wish to return to practice, you will be contacted to confirm where and when you would like to work. At this point a bespoke package of support will be agreed to enable you to return to work safely.
Will I be expected to have an appraisal or undergo a professional re-validation process?
No, this will not be necessary under these circumstances, this is a temporary post so neither are required.
Will I get paid and how will this be agreed?
Yes, you will be remunerated for any work you do in a way that reflects the responsibilities you undertake. This will be discussed and negotiated with you at the point of your return into work.
Will I have a contract and how many hours can I work?
Yes, you will be offered a contract that reflects working hour protections, pay arrangements and annual leave entitlement etc. Your working hours and pattern will be agreed between you and the organisation in which you have decided to work.
Where can I work? Can I work without being in a directly patient-facing role?
Where possible, you will be offered work at an organisation where you have worked before or are already linked with. There might be rare occasions where we would ask if you would consider moving to a different area to cover local needs but this will be in accordance with your identified skills and competencies and will be discussed with you beforehand. Yes, there are also a range of opportunities for non-patient facing roles also such as manning telephone triage lines or telemedicine.
What if I’m concerned about my health, I’m pregnant, immunosuppressed, have health problems or am a primary carer?
Given the increased risk of COVID-19 in those with co-morbidity and in the elderly population, we would of course advise against returning to patient-facing clinical work if you belong to this group. There are a range of opportunities you may wish to consider in non-patient facing roles that may be more suited and these can be discussed in more detail as part of your bespoke offer.
I work in a part time non-registered clinical role, with another role non-clinical role. What can I do?
We’d recommend you discuss with your employers under what circumstances you should temporarily suspend your external commitments in order to provide more clinical support in your employing organisation. The balance between supporting point of care services directly and delivering the business as usual work should be carefully considered on a case by case basis.
I’m concerned about my accountability as a returning registrant, where can I seek advice?
We acknowledge that you may be anxious about returning to practice especially in these unprecedented circumstances. To see up to date information regarding the HCPC standards for practice for all registrants please visit website . https://www.hcpc-uk.org/covid-19/advice/advice-for-temporary-registrants/ Please be assured that where a concern is raised about a registered professional, the HCPC will always consider the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the context and environment in which the professional is working. The HCPC will also take account of any relevant information about resources, guidelines, or protocols in place at the time. The Joint Statement made by all the regulators is at https://www.HCPC.org.uk/news/coronavirus/.
Will I have insurance and indemnity cover?
Yes – arrangements are already in place to indemnify any professional working in a hospital or community
What are the pension payment arrangements for staff returning to the HSCNI to assist in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak?
This has been addressed in the emergency legislation for staff joining the temporary register and returning to work will not affect your pension.
When will these measures take effect?
The legislation will give the Government the power to immediately bring these measures into effect, if required.
What will happen when these measures are no longer needed?
A six-month notice period will be given to staff and employers before these measures will cease to apply, at which point the relevant sections of the scheme regulations will take effect again. Staff and employers will therefore have six months’ notice to readjust their working patterns.
What happens at the end of my contract/temporary registration?
At this point your contract will come to an end and you will be removed from the temporary HCPC register and unable to continue to practice as a registered AHP. Should you wish to continue to work and be permanently registered with the HCPC, please contact them directly?
What if I change my mind and I don’t want to work anymore – who do I tell?
You are free to change your mind at any time. If you change your mind and don't want to work anymore you should highlight this to your direct line manager and arrange for steps to taken for you to leave work safely and as appropriate.
What if I become ill when I am working or concerned that I may have coronavirus?
If you become ill while working, local policy and national guidance must be followed to ensure your safety and the safety of others. You should immediately inform your line manager and withdraw from work. If you have concerns regarding COVID-19 please follow national guidance.
Will I need Access NI check?
Yes you will need to follow Access NI Enhanced Disclosure requirements. More details on what is required will be available in due course.
What would happen if a concern is raised about someone on the COVID-19 temporary Register?
As this is a COVID-19 temporary Register, we recognise there are increased risks involved. Therefore should anyone raise a concern about a registrant on the COVID-19 temporary Register, which meets our Triage test as explained in our Threshold Policy, we will remove them from that Register with immediate effect.
This means we will not carry out a fitness to practise investigation into the concerns raised, or seek comments or information from any of the parties concerned.
In addition, if we are made aware that someone is misusing their temporary registration (for example, by practising in a way which is not linked – directly or indirectly – to COVID-19), we will remove them from the temporary Register.
What about a consider about protection of title?
- COVID-19 temporary registrants will be able to use the protected title of the profession they are working in for the duration of their time on the COVID-19 temporary Register. However they should be open and honest about their level of experience and qualifications.
It is likely employers will set in local policies how COVID-19 temporary registrants will be deployed. This might include practising under a different title, which makes it clear to the public their COVID-19 temporary status.
Someone who has died is on the COVID-19 temporary register. How can I get this name removed from the register?
We are very sorry if the names of any individuals who have died are on the COVID-19 temporary Register. As we do not collect any data on de-registered individuals, we are unable to identify if someone has since passed away.
We have had to act quickly to respond to this ever-evolving situation. This has meant we have had to rely on the limited data we hold on de-registered individuals.
We do appreciate this may be upsetting for close relatives and families. If you get in touch with the HCPC Registration team at email@example.com.
We will remove the details of anyone who has died as soon as possible. Please be aware that you may need to provide us with a death certificate.
If you willing to help please register at the following link - https://www.hscworkforceappeal.co.uk/
- Covid-19 - Information and Resources for the Allied Health Professions (AHP) Workforce in Northern Ireland