Any learners subject to Fitness to Practise procedures should be advised to receive independent, confidential advice and arrange for support.
A programme of study which requires a learner to undertake practical training in a quasi-professional role in relation to clients, service users or the general public or where the qualification provides a certification to practise will be governed by a requirement that the learner demonstrates their fitness to practise including in terms of their conduct and health. In order to protect current or future patients, clients, service users or the general public and to comply with the requirements of Professional Bodies, the following policy has been established to set down Anatomy and Physiology Online Courses position on learner-related fitness to practise issues.
The Fitness to Practise policy and procedures have been developed with regard to equal opportunities legislation to protect against discrimination and promote equality of opportunity regardless of any protected characteristics – age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, sexual orientation and religion or belief.
What is Fitness to Practise?
Being fit to practise means meeting the professional standards expected of you in terms of your behaviour, conduct, (including professional competence) and your health under your programme of study. We determine this in accordance with rules set out by the relevant regulates of your programme of study.
The aims of the policy and procedure are:
- to ensure that you are or will be fit to practise in your chosen profession;
- to protect patients, clients, service users and members of the public;
- to maintain public confidence in a profession;
- to ensure compliance with the requirements of the regulate; and
- to ensure that you are not awarded a qualification that permits you to practise a profession if you are not fit to do so.
We will draw your attention to the professional requirements and standards of behaviour expected of you on your programme, along with the consequences of breaching these standards.
Duties of learners in Relation to Health
In order to demonstrate that you are fit to practise, you must:
- Be aware that your health problem(s) may put you or others at risk;
- seek medical or occupational health advice, or both, if there is a concern about your health, including your mental health. You must register with a GP so that you have access to independent and objective medical care;
- be willing to be referred for treatment and to engage in any recommended treatment programmes;
- seek advice from a healthcare professional and not rely on your own or another learners assessment of the risk your health problem(s) pose to yourself or others;
- promptly provide any important information about your competence or health to us at the start of and throughout your programme;
- ask for appropriate support and adapt your study or stop studying if your performance or judgement is affected by your physical or mental health and could put service users, yourself or others at risk;
- be aware that when you certificate, you are responsible for informing your employer (where you are already working in a regulated field) if your health poses a risk to them, you or to others and to declare any health problem(s).
If your behaviour or conduct otherwise causes us a concern then we will also consider if there are implications for your continuation on your programme under these Regulations.
- Health-Related Concerns
The majority of learners who become ill during their programme of study regain their health with support from their GP or health care professional. This may entail a period of suspension from study, and such situations may be dealt with on an individual basis. We will assess your fitness to practise under these Regulations where your health problem is reasonably likely to affect your performance or when your return from a suspension on the grounds of ill health. Please note that there may be instances where you are also being assessed and/or supported through our Terms and Conditions and any support regulations. These Terms and conditions and Regulations consider different elements and we may decide to join them and make the necessary adjustments to either procedure to ensure that information is shared with all relevant people involved in both procedures, that the matter is handled efficiently and that you are treated fairly.
- Reporting a Concern
We place information on our website advising people about how to raise a concern with us and providing information about other regulations which may be applicable depending on the concern being raised. Typically, concerns are raised by members of the team.
- Minor Concerns
Where a low-level concern is raised about you, we will give you a developmental and supportive response, giving you an opportunity to improve your practice prior to a formal investigation. This may include agreeing to an action plan or setting specific expectations and we will publish information informing you of the range of informal steps that may be taken to manage and support you. If you fail to meet the requirements set for you after this first referral then the matter will progress to the formal procedure. Where we consider that the matter raised is sufficiently serious, we will consider the matter under our formal procedure. If you dispute the allegations of an otherwise minor concern, this will be considered under our formal procedure so that your matter may be fully considered.
- Interim Measures Pending Investigation
If we consider that the concern identified, if found, constitutes serious professional misconduct, or a risk to others, prior to our investigation we may:
impose restrictions or suspend you from your programme. Our decision to implement any of these measures at this stage will be made on a case by case basis in order to protect third parties (e.g. colleagues, service users, vulnerable groups, the general public) you or other learners. Our response will be proportionate to the possible risks posed. We will inform you in writing about these interim measures and our reasons, in writing. We will review these measures regularly and will keep you informed of the outcome of these reviews.
- Fitness to Practise Investigation
We will always undertake an investigation unless we have established the facts through another regulation or process or you have been convicted, in which case the matter will proceed straight to a Fitness to Practise review. An investigation will be carried out setting out findings in a report. The report will find that either your Fitness to Practise:
– is not impaired and the matter is discharged; or
– may be impaired and is of significant enough concern.
You will be advised of the findings of the investigation in writing. In your outcome letter we will also tell you who else will receive a copy of this outcome (such as the relevant regulator).
Reporting a Concern
Where a concern is raised about you, this will be referred to the Principal of Anatomy and Physiology Online Courses.
You will be notified of the concern and the reasons for the concern in writing of the decision to continue with this matter through these procedures refer to Fitness to Practise, and before any investigation begins.
You will have an opportunity to respond to the concern raised.
You must give a notice of appeal in writing and to send it to the principal of Anatomy and Physiology Online Courses within 10 working days of the outcome of the Fitness to Practise Investigation report and outcome.
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The application of this policy will be reviewed annually by the Principal.