Health and Care Professions Tribunals Service Launched
The Health and Care Professions Tribunals Service (HCPTS) became operational on 28 April 2017 and marks the separation of the investigation and adjudication functions of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in its fitness to practice procedures.
The HCPTS applies to art therapists, biomedical scientists, chiropodists, podiatrists, dietitians, occupational therapists, operating departments practitioners, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, practitioner psychologists, orthotics, radiographers and speech and language therapists.
A new tribunal advisory committee (TAC) consisting of 6 members (none of whom may be a Council member) will advise the HCPC on the appointment of panelists, their training, assessment and guidance on matters of fair practice and procedure.
There is not expected to be any immediate practical change but this development mirrors the medical practitioners tribunal service set up in 2012 adjudicating allegations the GMC brings against doctors and surgeons.
Its significance is to recognise the principle of justice that decisions ought to be and be seen to be reached independently of those bringing and defending allegations.
It remains to be seen whether long term there is any future merger between all healthcare regulators to simplify and increase consistency of approach to investigation and adjudication of all health and social care professionals.