To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy that retired therapists who return to work as volunteers for the NHS during the covid-19 pandemic are able to re-register with their former professional bodies to obtain insurance equivalent to that being provided for retired doctors re-registering with the GMC; and if he will make a statement.
We have made available a number of provisions to support the safe return of retired professionals both in paid and volunteering roles. The Coronavirus Act 2020 enables the registrar of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to temporarily add any “fit and proper” professional to HCPC’s register for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. This power applies to all of the professions regulated by HCPC, including arts therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists.
As at 20 April, around 11,500 Allied Health Professionals, Healthcare Scientists and other professionals regulated by HCPC had contacted NHS England and NHS Improvement to express an interest in returning to practice with 2,327 deployed to trusts or the 111 service.
In most cases, returning healthcare professionals will be covered by one of the two existing state indemnity schemes: the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts if they return to work in a National Health Service trust; and the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice if they are engaged by a general practitioner (GP) practice providing NHS GP services. In the rare instances where these or other indemnity arrangements do not apply, the Coronavirus Act provides additional powers to provide clinical negligence indemnity arising from NHS activities related to the COVID-19 outbreak.