Today, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), in collaboration with seven other professional healthcare regulators, published an annual report on whistleblowing disclosures.
Whistleblowing is extremely important for protecting service users and is something we have featured prominently in our advice for practising during the pandemic. If a whistleblowing disclosure is made to HCPC, we take this seriously and in line with our Whistleblowing Policy.
The report shows that between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 the HCPC received 12 disclosures of information. These were received by either our Policy, Education or Fitness to Practise teams.
The themes of the disclosures were:
- Management of risk in the context of COVID-19
- Policies encouraging registrants to practise without training or outside their scope of practice
- Dispensing of medicines without assessment
These were from registrants and education providers who had concerns about their employers and / or colleagues. For 10 disclosures, we took regulatory action, whether that be providing them with advice or investigating the concerns further through our Education Complaints and Fitness to Practise Investigation processes. One disclosure was closed with no action taken and one was still under review.
The report also sets out HCPC’s learning from disclosures this past year. We have highlighted our work to promote the importance of raising concerns in our COVID-19 advice pages, Meeting our Standards pages and #MyStandards webinars.
We also promote our work on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, including our Registrant Diversity Data Survey, our response to the Equalities and Human Rights Committee on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equalities and human rights and our new Quality Assurance model for education providers.
Naomi Nicholson, Executive Director of Professional Practice and Insight says:
The pandemic has presented many challenges for the delivery of safe and effect healthcare. This makes the reporting of concerns even more important, to ensure registrants, their colleagues and their service users remain safe.
We hope this collaboration across the health sector will provide a positive message to those considering making a whistleblowing disclosure.
The joint report is available to download and view below.
* The eight professional regulators who have jointly published the report are the: General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Health and Care Professions Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council.