Raise a Concern about a Registrant

Anyone can raise a concern about a AHCS Registrant, including members of the public, patients, employers and other registrants and health professionals.  If you have a complaint or a concern about the Fitness to Practise of someone on the Accredited Register, in the first instance you should contact the AHCS Registrar as soon as possible, especially if there is a concern about patient safety.

Please telephone: 01455 244640 or email: complaints@ahcs.ac.uk

You will be asked to provide details of your concern or complaint by completing and returning a Raising a Concern or Complaint form, which you can download here or request a copy is sent to you.

All concerns and complaints about registrants are managed according to the Academy’s Complaints Policy and, should it be necessary, through the procedures set out in the Academy’s Fitness to Practise Rules.

The process for raising and managing a concerns or complaint is illustrated below:

 

The Registrar will not normally consider a complaint if the information is provided anonymously, because our processes need to operate in a fair and open way for all concerned.  We also need to know who to contact if we need more information about a case.  However, the Accredited Register exists to protect patients and the public, and anonymous allegations related to serious and credible concerns about a registrant’s Fitness to Practise will be considered by the Registrar if deemed to be in the public interest.

The Academy will provide assistance throughout the complaints process, whether assisting in the submission of a concern or complaint, giving progress updates or support within any hearings.  Help will be tailored to the appropriate needs of each individual.

Each case is assigned to a Case Officer who will be the point of contact for everybody involved until its conclusion – the complainant, the registrant and any other relevant parties.  The Case Officer will provide assistance throughout the complaints process, whether assisting in the submission of a concern or complaint, giving progress updates or support within any hearings.  Help will be tailored to the appropriate needs of each individual and you will receive the direct contact details of the Case Officer and you will be notified if the Case Officer changes.


What is ‘Fitness to Practise’?

An individual is considered as ‘Fit to Practise’ if they have the skills, knowledge and character to practise their profession safely and effectively. However, fitness to practise is not just about professional performance.  It also includes acts by a registrant that may have an effect on public protection, or confidence in the profession, or the regulatory process itself.

To be included on the Academy Register an individual has to show that they are fit to practise at the time when they first join the Register, and to provide continued evidence of their fitness to practise whenever they renew their registration on an annual basis.


The purpose of the Fitness to Practise process

Fitness to Practise proceedings are about protecting the public from individuals who do not meet the Academy’s standards.  They are not a way of dealing with general complaints or with disputes between employers or service users and registrants.  Nor are they designed to punish registrants for past mistakes they may have made.

If we discover that a registrant’s Fitness to Practise is ‘impaired’ (i.e. negatively affected) this means that there are concerns about their ability to practise safely and effectively.  This could mean that:

  • they should not remain on the register or be suspended for a period
  • the individual should not practise at all or be limited in what they are allowed to do

If impairment is proven, the Academy will impose an appropriate sanction or recommend action to ensure patients and the public are protected.

Occasionally, registrants may make genuine mistakes that they are not likely to repeat and it is unlikely their ongoing fitness to practise will be impaired.  The AHCS Registrar will consider every complaint received by the Academy to determine if it amounts to a formal allegation under the Fitness to Practise Rules.  If it is not, the Registrar will make a recommendation to the Registration Council which will usually result in a sanction being imposed on the registrant, with their consent.

Where an issue is identified or brought to the Academy’s notice, whether by the registrant or a third party, which:

  1. is not considered a serious matter under the grounds defined in the Fitness to Practise Rules;
  2. is unlikely to have affected the registrant’s fitness to practise; and
  3. if the registrant takes responsibility for the matter, exhibits regret for their actions and has or will take an agreed course of remedial action

The case will be dealt with by the AHCS Registrar and /or Head of Registration Services on behalf of the AHCS Registration Council under the policy for sanctions with consent.


Assessing Fitness to Practise

A concern or complaint will be considered as a formal allegation that a registrant’s Fitness to Practise is impaired, typically on one or more of the following grounds:

  • misconduct (such as inappropriate behaviour, dishonesty or deliberate failings)
  • lack of competence (not having the necessary professional skills and knowledge)
  • proficiency in the knowledge and use of English
  • physical or mental health
  • an unspent conviction or caution for a criminal offence in the UK (or a crime committed elsewhere which would be a crime in England or Wales)
  • being bound over to keep the peace by a magistrate’s court
  • a determination from another regulator (responsible for regulating health or care)
  • inclusion on a ‘barred list’ (preventing individuals from working with vulnerable adults or children)
  • an entry on the Register was fraudulently procured or made incorrectly.

We will investigate and consider each case individually although we are likely to find a registrant’s Fitness to Practise to be impaired if the evidence shows that that they:

  • seriously or persistently failed to meet standards
  • carried out reckless or deliberately harmful acts
  • hid mistakes or tried to block an investigation
  • failed to respect service users’ rights to make choices about their own care
  • had an improper relationship with a service user
  • exploited a vulnerable person
  • were dishonest, committed fraud or abused someone’s trust
  • have a substance abuse or misuse problem
  • have health problems which they have not dealt with, and which may affect the safety of service users
  • were involved in sexual misconduct or indecency (including any involvement in child pornography)
  • have been violent or displayed threatening behaviour

Fitness to Practise will be assessed using the process set out in the Academy’s  Fitness to Practise Rules and take account of our published Standards of Proficiency and Good Scientific Practice.

You may also find it useful to read the guidance to registrants: If someone raises a concern about you