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Annual review of the Health and Care Professions Council reports concerns about fitness to practise

The Professional Standards Authority (the Authority) has published its annual performance review of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC’s register currently covers almost 351,000 registrants in a variety of health and care professions in the United Kingdom, for example paramedics, physiotherapists, dietitians, and social workers (in England).

We assessed the HCPC’s performance against our Standards of Good Regulation. Our Standards are designed to ensure that the regulators are protecting the public and also promoting confidence in health and care professionals and themselves.

The HCPC has this year met all of our Standards for Guidance and Standards, Education and Training, and Registration. However, they have not performed as well against the 10 Fitness to Practise Standards, and this year we have concluded that the HCPC did not meet six of these Standards. Our concerns include:

  • Closing some complaints early that we think should have been investigated, including cases about dishonesty, alcohol abuse and inappropriate behaviour with patients
  • Applying their ‘Standards of Acceptance’ criteria inconsistently and often inappropriately high
  • Creating a barrier to complainants.

We also identified concerns in our previous reviews about aspects of the HCPC’s performance in this area – mainly around risk assessments and timeliness. We would urge the HCPC to consider our report closely and address our concerns.

More information about how we came to our conclusions is set out in our review – Performance Review 2016-17 - HCPC or read a summary in our snapshot.


Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care 


Christine Braithwaite, Director of Standards and Policy


Reception: 020 7389 8030


Notes to the Editor

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees nine statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
  2. We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are insufficient to protect the public and it is in the public interest.
  3. We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
  4. We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.
  5. We do this to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
  6. Our values are at the heart of who we are and what we do. We are committed to being impartial, fair, accessible and consistent in the application of our values.
  7. The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulates the practice in the UK of arts therapists, biomedical scientists, chiropodists/podiatrists, clinical scientists, dieticians, hearing aid dispensers, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, practitioner psychologists, prosthetists/orthotists, radiographers, speech language therapists and social workers in England. As at 31 March 2017, the HCPC was responsible for a register of 350,330 practitioners. The annual registration fee is £90.
  8. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at