What is the Health and Care Professions Council?

The maintenance, licensing, and regulation of professionals is an important consideration both in the UK and the wider world. In the UK we have the General Medical Council (GMC) responsible for regulating  doctors and their practices, and the Health and Care Professions Council, also known as the Health and Care Professions Council or HPC. The HPC has a number of important roles pertaining to professions like physiotherapy and podiatry, and in this article we look at their regulatory roles.

What does the HPC do?

The HPC is an independent authority set up to protect public interests by ensuring that all health and care professionals offering their service in the UK are appropriately qualified to do so. The HPC sets standards that determine how these professionals should behave, what they can do, and what qualifications they need to deliver their services.

The HPC represents a broad range of different health and care professions and these include podiatrists, occupational therapists, clinical scientists and many other practitioners from diverse backgrounds.

Registration with the HPC is a condition for the right to practice certain professions in the UK. It is illegal to claim that you are a physiotherapist or podiatrist without having been registered with the HPC.

The HPC also has an important role to play in complaints processes, and retains the right to remove a practitioner off its register in the event of malpractice. Should a registrant not abide by the standards of the HPC, they would face action from the HPC which can, in extreme circumstances, result in their removal from the register.

Ultimately all these roles have one endpoint in mind, they are performed to ensure that the public are kept safe at the hands of anyone delivering healthcare treatments.

What does the HPC have to do with podiatry?

As mentioned above, the HPC is an important regulatory organisation which sets the standards and qualifications which a budding podiatrist has to meet in order to practice podiatry in the UK. The HPC recognises colleges of podiatry and only graduates from these approved colleges can legally practice podiatry in the UK after completing their degree and registering with the HPC.

Registration with the HPC is a must for podiatrists who have completed their degree. Once registered practitioners must continue to abide by the standards of practice the HPC provides. There are Societies and Associations specifically set up for podiatrist and these can extend some of the regulatory roles the HPC performs.

Podiatrists registered with the HPC are only entitled to perform the treatments and procedures outlined by the HPC and taught on their courses. If a podiatrist is looking for further qualifications to perform a broader range of treatments like foot surgery, they will need to meet the requirements set by the HPC.

The practice of podiatry, amongst many other disciplines, is regulated by the HPC in the public’s interest, and abiding by the HPC’s regulations is legally important for anyone practicing in the UK.

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