editorial & letters
A disproportionate response I agree with Kevin Borrett’s remarks (‘HPC Over-Zealous?’, Bulletin, January 2006, p4) about the Health Professions Council’s (HPC) response in cases where re- registration applications go astray, or SLTs fail to re-register.
A senior colleague had exactly this happen to her. Although she is a therapist with more than 20 years’ experience, holds a senior post in a tertiary/Tier 4 service, and is known both nationally and internationally for her expertise, she found herself in the horrendous position of not being registered and thus unable to work.
This meant serious difficulties for the families attending the specialist clinics where she played a key part, and which they had been waiting to attend for some considerable time.
It also caused great personal distress, and I understand that her name will now be on a list of SLTs who have attracted disciplinary procedures.
This is a bizarrely inflexible and dispro-
portionate response from the bureaucratic machine into whose coffers we all have to pay, like it or not.
Might I suggest an alternative approach? There should be a telephone number so that SLTs in this invidious position can contact the HPC and explain the problem. If the HPC has the appropriate database (which, of course, it should), they can access this and look at the individual SLT’s history.
I n m y c o l l e a g u e ’ s c a s e , i t w o u l d h a v e b e e n obvious that what had happened was an oversight or an error on the part of the HPC, and that she should be allowed to practise.
I suggest that in the circumstances, the HPC representative should be empowered to issue a temporary registration with immediate effect. This, for example, could be valid for one-month, while the problem is sorted out.
Martin Smedley Paediatric principal SLT, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
Editor’s note: RCSLT CEO Kamini Gadhok and Head of Professional development Sharon Woolf met with HPC CEO Mark Seale and President Norma Brook in January to discuss, among other items, the issue of registration and renewals.
At the meeting the HPC acknowledged there had been difficulties with the registration renewal in 2005. The HPC emphasised that during the renewals period their staff cannot handle more than 500 calls a day. Many problems arose because documents had been completed late and the HPC was unable to process them before the deadline. Some registrants had sent one cheque to cover the registration for three people. This did not fit the HPC system. One cheque or direct debit per registrant is essential. If HPC registrants do not complete their renewals documentation or if there are inaccuracies that prevent the registration from being completed, the HPC will report deregistration to human resource departments and NHS trusts.
Commissioning a patient-led NHS: what does it mean for you?
A n e s s e n t i a l c o n f e re n c e f o r a l l a l l i e d h e a l t h p ro f e s s i o n a l s
27 April 2006, Holiday Inn, Regents Park, London
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bulletin April 2006