Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Health Care Professions Council... And You!

Well it's that time of year where those aspiring Paramedics out there start to look at preparing your Personal Statements and battling through UCAS to get your University applications in.

With that in mind I thought I'd dedicate a little bit of cyber-space to the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC), why? Well you'll need to learn about them at some point and in all of my Interviews last year I was asked how the HCPC relates to the Paramedic, if you're really clever you'll also look at the HCPC Paramedic Standards of Proficiency and the Student Ethics guide and try to use those key values and standards and reflect on them in your Personal Statement, so read on...

So who are they? Essentially they regulate Allied Health Professionals in the United Kingdom, Nurses and Midwives have the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) and we have the HCPC. So the HCPC regulate Paramedics, but also Physiotherapists, Radiographers, Occupational Therapists, and many more.

What this means is if someone says "Hi, I'm a Paramedic" or "Hi, I'm a Physiotherapist" then they must be registered as a Practitioner with the HCPC as those titles regulated by the HCPC are protected by Law. This is great for Joe Public as it means they can generally expect a certain standard from these Professions as the HCPC won't award registration unless you have completed a period of learning (for example a 3 year Paramedic Science Degree at University) and can evidence having met the required standard for the award. As an added bonus, you have to re-register every so many years (2 for Paramedics) and submit evidence that you've been keeping ontop of your clinical skills and patient contact or they won't allow you to re-register and maintain your PIN and Title.

So as one hand giveth, the other taketh away. If, as a Professional registered with the HCPC, you are alleged of any malpractice or misconduct you will end up in a HCPC Fitness to Practice hearing - the outcome of which can be the removal of your Professional registration. So yes, that means as a Paramedic of 20 years, if you were to say, leave a patient at home that later died because you failed to recognise a dangerous heart rhythm because you didn't carry out an ECG then you can expect to end up at a Fitness to Practice hearing and likely loose not only your job with that particular Ambulance trust, but also your Professional Registration - 20 year career gone in the blink of an eye!

You might think that you'd never do something so silly, but if you look here: Fitness to Practice Hearing Outcomes and filter it my Paramedics you can loose many hours reading through all the reasons Paramedics get struck off - I'd recommend  you do as some of them are quite shocking.

So how can any of this help you in getting a place on one of the few coveted Student Paramedic places out there? Well if you read HCPC Paramedic Proficiency and Ethics and the HCPC's own specific guidelines for Student HCPs HCPC Student Guide to Conduct and Ethics you'll have an idea at what the core values you will be being assessed on when it comes to your Paramedic Interview and what they will be looking for you to demonstrate in your Personal Statement.

So hopefully there is some useful information and links here for people, I'd suggest having a good look around the HCPCs main website to really understand what being a Registered Health Care Professional means so you really understand the role in governing the Paramedic Profession.

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