Update (Friday 14 August 2020): If you have any queries regarding the project please email Maryann Hardy, who is leading the research team at Bradford University, at M.L.Hardy1@bradford.ac.uk. The research is now underway and the next update will be given when the interim findings report is shared just after 22 September.
At the HCPC we are just starting a policy project which aims to identify any regulatory challenges and any risks presented by registrants’ advancing their practice, and how the HCPC should respond to these to ensure public protection and to support our registrants’ professionalism/good practice.
We appreciate that the terminology for advanced practice (AP) is variable, and is often referred to by several other terms, but for the sake of clarity and ease we will be using ‘AP’ to refer to all forms of our registrants extending or advancing their scope of practice beyond their core profession across the UK. For more information and definitions, please refer to the national frameworks for AP in each of the four countries of the UK.
Background to the project
Regulation of AP is at the level of the AP’s core (cognate) profession. There is no regulation specific to the advanced level of practice or any advanced practice education programmes, nor is statutory registration of a practitioner’s standard level work necessary to work at AP level.
Some of the professional regulators, such as the General Dental Council, have produced guidance on the activities its registered professions are trained and competent to undertake. The HCPC does not collect information on scope of practice, nor do we prescribe the areas in which our registrants work, instead, "registrants must ensure that they practice safely and effectively within their chosen scope of practice".
We are regularly contacted by registrants asking for advice and support in relation to AP scope of practice; quite often in relation to advanced clinical practice roles. Some registrants raise concerns about how to ensure they are acting within the scope of the Standards of Proficiency in their new roles; for example Operating Department Practitioners moving in to Surgical Care Practitioner roles.
For decades there have been repeated calls from a number of organisations and professional groups to consider introducing some form of additional regulation of AP. It is in response to these calls that the HCPC is undertaking this project to understand the range of views and experiences of our registrants, and those of other key stakeholders, before the HCPC’s Council makes an informed decision on how to proceed.