COVID-19: joint statement from health and care regulators
9 December 2021
The Chief Executives of the statutory health and care regulators have published a joint statement to update their registrants on COVID-19.
The regulators of UK health and social care professionals have reiterated their support for staff working together to tackle the ongoing pandemic and seasonal pressure on services.
We know that registrants will be making difficult decisions around care provision in very challenging circumstances; that context is understood and will be considered by regulators.
We want to thank all health and social care professionals for the care they have continued to provide to patients and those who use health and social care services through these very difficult and challenging circumstances.
Further to the joint statement we published in January, we would like to set out our approach again in the following joint statement. This reiterates the principles we said we would rely upon, and will continue to rely upon as the pandemic continues.
Joint statement from chief executives of statutory regulators of health and social care professionals
We hold the registers of health and social care professionals in the UK. We support those professionals to deliver better, safer care by setting the standards they need to meet, to act in the best interests of patients and people who use health and social care services at all times.
As registered professionals, the first concern of the individuals on our registers will be the care of their patients and people who use health and social care services. We encourage health and social care professionals, working in partnership with each other and people using services, to use their professional judgement to assess risk and to deliver safe care informed by any relevant guidance and the values and principles set out in their professional standards.
We recognise that in highly challenging circumstances, professionals may need to depart from established procedures in order to care for patients and people using health and social care services. Our regulatory standards are designed to be flexible and to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations.
They support professionals by highlighting the key principles which should be followed, including the need to work cooperatively with colleagues to keep people safe, to practise in line with the law and the best available evidence, to recognise and work within the limits of their competence, and to have appropriate indemnity arrangements relevant to their practice.
We recognise that the individuals on our registers may feel anxious about how context is taken into account when concerns are raised about their decisions and actions in very challenging circumstances. Where a concern is raised about a registered professional, it will always be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working. We would also take account of any relevant information about resource, guidelines or protocols in place at the time.
We will continue to issue profession specific guidance to our registrants to provide additional support where that is needed.
The statutory health and care regulators that have agreed to this statement are:
- General Chiropractic Council
- General Dental Council
- General Medical Council
- General Optical Council
- General Osteopathic Council
- General Pharmaceutical Council
- Health and Care Professions Council
- Nursing and Midwifery Council
- Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
- Social Work England