The COVID-19 Temporary Register will close on the 31 March 2024. Click here for more information.
As the country moves into a new stage of the pandemic, we continue to review and adapt our work with education providers and make changes where necessary. We have considered these at length to ensure that we meet our commitment to being supportive and proportionate in our requirements and expectations. To contact the Education Department about these changes please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Changes that affect all education providers
The biggest change is the closure of the student temporary register, which took place on 30 November 2020 and affects all professions except biomedical science and clinical science.
While BS and CS students can continue to practice under temporary registration if they require this to maintain their current employment, education providers will no longer be able to add names to the student temporary register.
The decision to close the student temporary register was made to help students focus more on their studies, as well as keeping the healthcare workforce stable in the longer-term. The closure has been communicated to all education providers and affected students over email.
The temporary register for non-students remains open until further notice. There is more information on our approach to closing the temporary registers and advice about the ongoing temporary register.
Other changes that affect all education providers include adapted programme visitation processes. These now take place virtually. More information and advice can be found on the approval of programmes page.
Many organisations have put individual contingency plans in place to adapt to the pandemic. Any education provider that needs to depart from established procedures to continue with education and training has our full support, providing these changes meet our standards and the legislation set out by the government. We understand that they may need to be reviewed and changed regularly, depending on changes at local and national levels.
Our standards are designed to be flexible, to ensure those who complete programmes meet relevant proficiency standards. With this flexibility, we expect you to use professional judgement and experience to inform the implementation of changes to manage COVID-19 risks.
In doing so, you must ensure that any measures put in place continue to provide the quality of teaching and learning required to meet our standards, and to ensure individuals meet the relevant proficiency standards on completion of the award.
Temporary registration for biomedical science and clinical science students
Although the temporary register remains in place for these students and allows them to practice, education providers are no longer able to submit further names to the temporary register. Instead, we encourage students who are qualifying imminently to apply for full registration upon completion of their final award.
Although the temporary register remains in place for these students and allows them to practice, education providers are no longer able to submit names to the temporary register. Instead, we encourage students who are qualifying imminently to apply for full registration upon completion of their final award.
Education providers are no longer submit names to the temporary register at present. The temporary register remains in place for these students and allows them to practice, but we encourage students who are qualifying imminently to continue to focus on their studies and apply for full registration upon completion.
Supporting student progression on your programme
After 30 November, in order to practice, students need to successfully apply for full registration with HCPC.
No, you don't need to let us know about any one off / temporary changes you need to make which you feel are in line with our overall guidance we have set out for education providers. If you are considering making any significant changes permanent, we would expect you to engage with us in the usual way via our monitoring processes.
Our standards are flexible and education providers can develop their programmes as needed to respond to COVID-19.
This could extend to changing your assessment methods to build upon any experience learners gain.
You would need to consider the nature of the learner’s role in service, the type of experience they gained, and how this might be to relevant the achievement of the programme’s learning outcomes.
You would need to consider your own academic regulations, as these may provide flexibility around awarding final qualifications under circumstances such as COVID-19.
In doing so, you must ensure that only those learners who have demonstrated the achievement of the relevant proficiency standards receive the final HCPC approved award.
We recognise that it may no longer be practical for some students to complete their minimum placement hours, due to the unavailability of suitable placement sites.
Our standards are flexible in this regard and do not prescribe a minimum that must be achieved. We expect education providers to consider what is necessary to ensure learners have met the relevant learning outcomes through any practice-based learning.
On this basis, it may be possible to adjust the minimum practice-based learning hours you set. If you do make an adjustment, please ensure you are clear on the reasons for doing so, and also ensure you can evidence this.
Yes. This might include making provisions to adjust planned learning where placements are no longer available, including bringing forward elements of academic learning.
It may also include supporting students to work in assistant type roles, as part of an extended placement experience.
Education providers should discuss and agree their arrangements locally, and involve employers as needed to inform any approaches taken.
Simulation is certainly a permissable option to support the delivery of pre-reg programmes under HCPC standards, and we don't explicitly confine this to delivery within a HEI based setting, nor do we set a maximum amount of simulation that can be used on a programme. However, clearly the intent of simulation is to provide a structured method of assessment where the actual practice of that skill is not achievable or appropriate for a number of different reasons (availability, legalities, experience etc).
We have published a blog discussing the use of simulation here.
We would expect simulation (wherever it is carried out) to be robust in terms of its quality, reliability, replicability, validity and objectivity when applied across a student cohort. It is usually for these reasons that it is best delivered within academic settings to allow for the variables affecting simulation to be appropriately controlled. If this can be achieved in other settings, and the HEI remains responsible for the quality of the simulation being carried out to support learning outcomes, then HCPC standards would support this also. The key point for education providers is around whether the simulation can provide an assessment to the same degree of quality that the observation of real life practice would do in normal circumstances. Of relevance to this consideration is whether particular learning outcomes (and by virtue of this, elements of our proficiency standards) can be suitably assessed to determine whether an individual can practice safely and effectively.
Notwithstanding the points above, this is also a matter of professional judgement during the COVID-19 pandemic that we have supported education providers to explore and if suitable, look to implement where appropriate. We would therefore expect that there will be some areas of practice where simulation could be suitably explored, and others where it is just not an appropriate alternative assessment method.
We would expect this matter to be dealt with through the education provider's own internal investigation processes and if needed through formal student FtP procedures. COVID-19 breaches should be viewed in the same way student conduct issues which occur outside of learning environments are, with the additional considerations around wider patient risks related to non-adherence to any rules in place locally or nationally. Our guidance on student conduct and ethics should also be applied and contextualised for consideration around potential COVID-19 breaches also.
This is a matter for the government to consider and we have responded to their recent consultation seeking views on changes to the Human Medicines Regulations to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
Whilst we do not regulate students, we do approve their education programmes. As part of this approval, we set clear expectations that students are supervised. This would remain our expectation if a student was administering vaccines. We also expect students to conduct themselves in a way which aligns with our standards, in preparation for joining the Register. There therefore may be implications for a students’ registration if mistakes are made and harm occurs, due to insufficient support or training.
Students deployed on mass to administer vaccines may create longer term impacts on the workforce, such as by extending their time in education and therefore delaying when they get on the Register. Administering COVID-19 vaccines on placement may also reduce the variety of practice placement opportunities students will get which may also delay their progression.
Public Health England recently approved the national protocol for the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine, which allows non-registered health professionals to administer the vaccine provided that they receive adequate training and supervision from a registered and experienced health professional.
This means that it could be possible for students to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. However, this will ultimately be for each of the UK four nations to determine.
We will issue more guidance once we know more. Further information about this protocol and the delivery of the vaccine more broadly can be found on our vaccination advice pages.
We ask that education providers do not telephone us at this time, but instead email our team at email@example.com. We will get back to providers as soon as we are able.
Education providers - Changes to monitoring and approvals processes
We have decided to not run physical approval events until at least January 2021. We have contacted education providers offering them the option to postpone their scheduled visit or proceed with a virtual event.
We are conscious that education providers will also be managing with less staff through the pandemic. We are happy to be flexible if more time is needed to make annual monitoring submissions.