Healthcare regulator’s joint statement on the implications of healthcare workers’ decision making and concerns raised when treating patients with coronavirus.

In the agreed joint statement, the healthcare regulators recognised 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.”

“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.”

“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 best available evidence, to recognise and work within the limits of their competence, and to have appropriate indemnity arrangements relevant to their practice.”

In the present situation with coronavirus, healthcare workers and professionals will need to make clinical decisions that may be out of the ordinary or not linked with guidance or best practise.

This statement presents some assurance to healthcare workers and professionals that the context of their decision making will be considered in any concerns raised in relation to their fitness to practise. 

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