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COVID 19 FAQ for Registrants

We understand that you may be feeling anxious about COVID-19 and the potential impact that it may have on your role as a clinical physiologist.  With this in mind we are starting to compile a list of FAQs which we encourage you to read:

What should I do if I become unwell with a high temperature and/or a new and continuous cough?
Registrants must follow the latest advice issued by the Government about when self-isolation may be required.  If you suspect that you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should seek advice from NHS 111.

You should also speak to your employer, to see if there are any local policies in place you need to follow.

Whether you are a member of the public or an RCCP registrant, you must follow the guidance if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 which are:
Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

A high temperature
A new continuous cough
Excessive tiredness and fatigue and a loss of smell/taste are also being reported more recently.

My employer is redeploying me during the COVID-10 crisis.  I am concerned I am working outside of my scope of practice.  How to I ensure I am not breaching the RCCP Standards?

For any scope of practice queries we are supporting registrants to understand how they apply the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular:
  • You must keep within your scope of practice by only practising in the areas you have appropriate knowledge, skills and experience for.
  • You must refer a service user to another practitioner if the care, treatment or other services they need are beyond your scope of practice.
  • You must keep your knowledge and skills up to date and relevant to your scope of practice through continuing professional development.
  • You must keep up to date with and follow the law, our guidance and other requirements relevant to your practice.
  • You must ask for feedback and use it to improve your practice.
The unique challenges that COVID-19 presents means many of you are likely working, or have been asked to work, in new roles. These might be outside of your traditional scope of practice. Due to pressure on services, you may be asked to perform these roles with limited training or supervision.

To be able to respond to COVID-19, registrants must be willing to adapt their practice to the demands of the current climate. However, it is important this does not come at the cost of practicing safely and effectively.

We define your scope of practice as the limit of your knowledge, skills and experience. You must work within your scope of practice at all times.

Determining what is and is not part of your scope of practice will be for you to decide using your professional judgement. Our standards of proficiency may inform your scope of practice, as well as your job description, employer policies and any guidance issued by your professional body.

Even if a role is outside of what might be traditionally expected for your profession, this doesn’t mean you cannot do this if you have the required knowledge, skills and experience. What is key is ensuring that you can perform a role safely and effectively.
If you move into a new area or role, it is your employer’s responsibility to provide you with appropriate training and / or support (such as supervision) to ensure you are still able to practice safely and effectively.

The level of knowledge, skills and experience required for each role will be informed by your employer and professional body’s advice.  Local guidance and policies may also set out training requirements for certain roles.

Due to COVID-19, it may not be possible to get the level of training and support you would typically expect. Pressures on services might mean regular supervision is not available and training is more condensed than usual. It is still important that you receive as much training and support as practicable in the circumstances to ensure you are able to practice safely and effectively.

All our standards need to be read in the round. How to meet them, and what is and is not appropriate, will depend on the full circumstances of an individual’s practice. We recognise that working in a pandemic may give rise to particular challenges that are uncommon in your everyday practice.

We would still expect you to use your professional judgement to assess what is safe and effective practice in the context in which you are working during the pandemic.

I am concerned I am not receiving adequate training, support and supervision during the COVID-19 crisis, what should I do?

If you have concerns about the level of training or support you are receiving, you should raise this immediately with your employer. If they do not address your concerns, you should seek advice from your professional body or union as soon as you can.
We recognise that in the current circumstances it will be particularly challenging, but we would encourage, wherever possible, that registrants are given as much support and training as practicable in the circumstances to ensure they are still able to practise safely and effectively.

If matters escalate, you can also speak to Public Concern at Work, the whistleblowing charity who provides advice to individuals with whistleblowing concerns at work.

We recommend you keep a record of any engagement you have with others during the decision making process and the reasons for any decision(s) you make. Should any concerns be raised about your practice, we will take account of:
the circumstances and context you were working in;
any steps you took to raise your concerns; and
relevant resource, guidelines and protocols in place at the time

Is the RCCP operating any temporary registers to enable recently retired practitioners to return to practice?

Yes, we have a Board approved COVID-19 temporary register for former registrants who have de-registered in the past three years and are volunteering to return to practice.  We will ensure nobody appears on this list if they have been subject to fitness to practise concerns in the past.

Can I refuse to provide care for someone who may be infected if I feel I may be at risk?

We understand that clinical physiologists are experienced in managing challenging health issues, including patients that may be infected.  You must however make sure that you continue to meet the RCCP Standards which still apply even in such extraordinary circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, standard 1 of the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (SCPE) remind you that you must promote and protect the interests of service users and carers and so ensure that you recognise the patient’s needs, assess and respond without undue delay.

We do recognise that all healthcare professionals should feel supported to take account of your own safety and wellbeing and your employer is there to help manage resources and in particular deal with risk so that that the quality of care or service you provide for people can be maintained despite such unparalleled times such as COVID-19.

You should share any concerns with your manager without delay if you have any anxieties that you believe puts you, or those you are caring for, at increased risk in your workplace so they can make sure you’re able to practise safely.

I am awaiting a decision on my RCCP application -  are the timescales impacted due to COVID-19?

We are continuing to process applications as normal and will strive to achieve our normal processing times as far as is reasonably possible.

I am concerned that I may not be able to keep up to date with CPD or have time to submit my profile if requested?

The RCCP have made the decision, during these unprecedented times and following the emerging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare professionals, to cancel all CPD resubmission requests until further notice. Individuals should comply with their CPD obligation, where time allows and it is possible to do so.  However we recognise that many of our Registrants may be under immense professional and personal pressure exacerbated also by staff shortages and so as a show of support, we are withdrawing the notification to resubmit your CPD for the 2017-2019 audit period.

Will the renewals process be impacted by COVID-19?

We will continue with our planned renewal timelines, but with extra flexibility understanding the pressures our registrants will be under.  Registration renewals are due on 1st May 2020.

I am a student and my university is moving to remote working or may even close?

Students will need to speak to their education and training provider to understand what measures they are putting in place and what impact that may have on their studies.

I am a student and I am concerned that as my clinical placements and final academic studies have been impacted by COVID-19 will this stop me from applying to the RCCP register in the summer of 2020?

The RCCP have developed a mechanism to allow graduates from RCCP accredited courses to allow for RCCP registration in 2020.    This mechanism will allow students to complete their studies, join the register and seek employment.  We expect students to follow local guidance and policies put in place by their university / education provider and placement provider. If you have any concerns, you should speak to your supervisor, HEI tutor or course leader.

I am currently the subject of a complaint.  How will this affect the investigation timescales?

Fitness to practice (FtP) investigation work and ensuring patient safety remains the key objective of the RCCP.  Many of our complaints are investigated and concluded with our Assessment Committee Panels without the need for face-to-face hearings.  However, for Professional Conduct Committee Hearings scheduled which are usually face-to-hearings, where possible we will hope to progress cases via ‘hearings on papers’ or by holding ‘virtual hearings’.  There may however be minor delays to processing due to staffing pressures as a result of government advice on self-isolation impacting our Head Office.  We will however continue to; log all complaints; risk assess any new referrals; process any new information on existing referrals; consider interim order applications; and review hearings.

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