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When and how to make a self-referral

A self-referral is when you inform us of a concern about your conduct, competence or health that may impair (negatively affect) your fitness to practise.

This page is for existing registrants provides information about when and how to make a self-referral regarding concerns about your conduct or competence

Read about what you need to do if a health condition is affecting your ability to practise here

Visiting European health professionals on the temporary and occasional register should telephone our Fitness to Practise department for advice about self-referral. Freephone 0800 328 4218.

Self-referral toolkit

  • You must tell us as soon as possible if:

    • you accept a caution from the police or you have been charged with, or found guilty of, a criminal offence;
    • another organisation responsible for regulating a health or social-care profession has taken action or made a finding against you; or
    • you have had any restriction placed on your practice, or been suspended or dismissed by an employer, because of concerns about your conduct or competence.

    This is standard 9.5 of our Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

     

    Other concerns

    You may choose to tell us about other concerns that do not meet these criteria. If you do, we will review this concern in the same way as any other self-referral or other fitness to practise matter.

    Read about what to do in the event of a change in your health here

    If you are not sure whether you should make a self-referral, speak to our team for advice. Freephone 0800 328 4218.

  • “another organisation responsible for regulating a health or social-care profession has taken action or made a finding against you”

    This is important if you are registered with another regulator in the health and social care sector, other than the HCPC. Examples include regulators in other countries, or for other professions such as nursing.

    An ‘action’ or ‘finding’ means that a regulator has:

    • put in place a temporary measure that limits your registration, like an interim order; or
    • concluded an investigation and found that your fitness to practise is impaired. This may, but will not always, involve a sanction being issued against your registration.

    A ‘sanction’ means any action a regulator might take against your registration, like issuing a caution or conditions on your practice, or removing you from their register.

    If a regulator has found that your fitness to practise is impaired, you must tell us even if you do not receive a sanction.

    Remember that you can tell us about other concerns, such as allegations or investigations by another regulator that have not yet involved action or a finding against you.

     

    “you have had any restriction placed on your practice, or been suspended or dismissed by an employer, because of concerns about your conduct or competence”

    This part of the standard relates to concerns about your conduct or competence.

    Conduct describes the way a person behaves. Misconduct is behaviour that falls short of what can reasonably be expected of a registrant. Our expectations of your behaviour are set out in our Standards of conduct, performance and ethics.

    Competence describes a person’s knowledge, skill and judgement. Lack of competence is a (usually persistent) lack of knowledge, skill and judgement that means a registrant is unfit to practise.

    Your employer will inform you if you are suspended or dismissed from your position.

    Restrictions placed on your practice means that your employer does not allow you to practise in your usual role with your usual responsibilities or freedoms, because of concerns about your conduct or competence.

    Examples of restrictions include (but are not limited to):

    • Being removed from your usual duties, such as on-call shifts;
    • Being prohibited from delivering your usual care or treatment without direct supervision, such as administering medicines;
    • Being prohibited from making your usual decisions without approval from a colleague, such as discharging a service user.

     

    Other concerns

    You can tell us about other concerns that do not meet these criteria. If you do, we will review this concern in the same way as any other self-referral or other fitness to practise matter.

    Read about what to do in the event of a change in your health here.

    If you are not sure whether you should make a self-referral, speak to our Fitness to Practise team for advice. Freephone 0800 328 4218.

  • Follow the link at the bottom of this page to make a self-referral

    This will provide you with a referral form that you need to complete and submit to us.

    If you have a disability under the terms of the Equality Act 2010  and need us to make reasonable adjustments to this process, please contact us on Freephone: 0800 328 4218.

     

    Seek advice

    We recommend you speak with your professional body, union and employer. You can also speak to our team on Freephone 0800 328 4218. 

     

    Provide the right information

    Download and read the self-referral form carefully to understand what you need to submit.

    Providing us with the right information as early as possible helps us to progress your referral in a timely and efficient manner. We encourage you to send us as much relevant information as you can, with supporting documentation wherever possible.

    You can read our data protection policy and privacy notice on our website, here. The self-referral form also includes a notice about how we may use information that you refer to us.

    If you remain unsure what you need to provide, contact our team for advice on Freephone: 0800 328 4218 

     

  • Self-referrals are handled by our Fitness to Practise department

    All concerns go through the same fitness to practise process, regardless of who we receive them from.  Find a full explanation of how we investigate concerns elsewhere on our website, here.

     

    We will review your referral and decide whether we need to investigate

    We will first consider whether your referral is something we can deal with. This assessment takes place during our triage stage. We sometimes receive referrals about issues we cannot deal with. If this is the case with your referral, we will write to you to explain why. 

    Where we have made a decision at the triage stage that your referral is something we can deal with, we will carry out an initial investigation to obtain the relevant information about your referral. This may involve gathering information from a number of sources.

    Once we have completed our initial investigation we will assess your referral and the information we have obtained about it, against our threshold criteria for fitness to practise investigations. This is to decide whether your referral, and the information we have gathered, amounts to an allegation that your fitness to practise may be impaired.

    If we find that your referral does meet our threshold, we will refer the matter to our Investigating Committee.

    If we consider that our threshold has not been met we will close the case and take no further action.

     

    What you can expect from us during an investigation

    We investigate all cases objectively and independently.

    We will treat you fairly and explain what will happen at each stage of the process.

    We assign a case manager to each case. Their role is to manage the case throughout the process and to gather relevant information. The case manager acts as a contact for everyone involved in the case and will keep you up to date with the progress of the investigation. They cannot give you legal advice but they can explain how the process works, what information we require and what panels might consider when making decisions. 

    Visit our web pages ‘If a concern has been raised about you’ for more information about the process a case will go through and the possible outcomes.

     

    Keeping you informed

    We try to complete our investigations as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    We aim to:

    • Have a case considered by the Investigating Committee within eight months of receipt of a concern (if the concern meets our threshold); and
    • Hold a final hearing within nine months of the Investigating Committee’s panel decision that there is a case to answer.

    While these are our aims, the time a case takes to reach the end of the process can vary depending on how complicated the issues are. This can affect the type of investigation we need to carry out. Each stage of the process may take a shorter or longer period of time.

    Your case manager will write to you regularly to keep you informed of the progress of the case.

    For more information, take a look at our investigation process flowchart.

     

Self-referral support

  • To protect the public, we must make sure our registrants are safe and effective

    Being ‘fit to practise’ means having the skills, knowledge, character and health to practise your profession safely and effectively.

    Fitness to practise is not just about professional or clinical performance. A person's conduct outside of work might involve fitness to practise if it could pose a risk to the public or undermine public confidence in them or their profession.

    Concerns that meet standard 9.5 may impair (negatively affect) a registrant's fitness to practice.

     

  • We understand you may be concerned about your registration

    However, it’s important that you are open and honest with us from the start.

     

    Self-referral does not automatically lead to a sanction against your registration

    As a regulator, our main aim is to protect the public. If after receiving your referral or after an initial investigation we do not think your fitness to practise is affected, we will write to you to let you know. If a sanction is necessary, our panels begin by considering the least restrictive sanction available to them, and take the minimum action necessary to protect the public.

     

    We consider all concerns in the same way, including self-referrals 

    Our aim in reaching every decision is to make sure we protect members of the public and the public interest.

    Because you have a professional responsibility to tell us about concerns that meet standard 9.5 of our Standards of conduct, performance and ethics, making a self-referral will not affect how we make decisions about your case. It will not lead to a ‘lighter’ sanction than if somebody else referred you.

    However, if you unreasonably delay or do not inform us of an issue that meets the criteria of standard 9.5 of our Standards of conduct, performance and ethics, this may affect the outcome of your case. Get in touch with us as early as possible.

     

    We know all fitness to practise concerns are stressful

    We also know that incidents that lead to self-referrals are often result from a period of stressful life events.

    We encourage you to recognise when you are struggling to cope or to maintain your usual professional standards and learn to ask for help.

    Read ‘sources of advice and support’ for more information about organisations that can support you.

     

  • We hope this page reassures you about self-referral

    However, we recognise that the fitness to practise process is a stressful experience for registrants.

    Talk to us

    Speak to our Fitness to Practise team on Freephone 0800 328 4218.

    Speak to your employer

    We strongly recommend that you make your employer aware of problems in or affecting your professional life, so that you can access appropriate support.

    Your employer will also be able to advise on issues such as restrictions on your practise, and provide the documents that you need to submit to us about any suspension or dismissal.

    Speak to your professional body and union

    If you are a member of a professional body or union, you should contact them for advice. Access our pages about professional bodies for more information.

    Wellbeing services

    If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to tell somebody. We encourage you to talk to a friend, family member or trusted colleague.

    Samaritans are a non-religious support service there to listen to you and help you talk through your concerns, worries and troubles, whatever they may be. Call Samaritans for free and in confidence, 24 hours a day, on 116 123.

Page updated on: 17/07/2018
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