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Is it the proper function of a regulator to police the performance of contracts between professionals and non-clients, such as their suppliers? You may think not. However, the Health Professions Council (HPC) thinks differently. This body regulates 13 different branches of the healthcare professions, ranging from podiatrists to radiographers.
According to the HPC, failure to honour a contract is a disciplinary offence. Thus, late payment of a debt to a supplier (even with interest) is seen as a breach of Standard 14 of the HPC’s Code of Conduct – the duty to behave with integrity and honesty and keep to high standards of personal and professional conduct at all times – and of Standard 16, damaging the profession’s reputation.
It would be surprising if a chiropodist whose hourly rate may be as low as £25 should be subject to more stringent rules of financial propriety than, say, a lawyer who earns ten or twenty times as much – and is entrusted with client funds to boot