Mrs Emily C Reacher
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By reason of your mental and/or physical health, your fitness to practise as a Paramedic is impaired.
1. The Panel was provided with a signed certificate as proof that the Notice of Hearing had been e-mailed to the Registrant’s registered e-mail address on 20 July 2022.
2. The Panel noted that the e-mail to the Registrant confirmed, that the HCPC had arranged for this hearing to be heard remotely via video conference. Further, the Panel noted that the HCPC had separately e-mailed the Registrant reminding her of the date of the hearing and of the suggestions made by the previous Panel as to what documentation and/or information this Panel might find useful. No response had been received.
3. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was satisfied that the Notice of Hearing had been properly served in accordance with Rule 3 (Proof of Service) and Rule 6 of the Rules and that the Registrant had been given a reasonable opportunity to participate.
Application to proceed in private
4. Ms Sampson applied for the entirety of the hearing to be heard in private, on the basis that the Panel was sitting as a Panel of the Health Committee and that all matters essentially concerned the Registrant's health.
5. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on 'Conducting Hearings in Private'. The Panel was of the view that the case related exclusively to matters concerning the Registrant's health, and as such it was not appropriate for such matters to be aired in public. It was, therefore, satisfied that it was justified to hear the entirety of the case in private, in accordance with Rule 10(1)(a) of the Health Committee (Procedure) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”).
Proceeding in Absence
6. Ms Sampson made an application for the hearing to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, as permitted by Rule 11 of the Rules.
7. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and took into account the guidance as set out in the HCPTS Practice Note "Proceeding in Absence" and the chronology of events as set out above.
8. The Panel determined that it was fair and in the public interest to proceed with the hearing for the following reasons:
a. The HCPC had made reasonable efforts to provide the Registrant with the opportunity to participate in these proceedings. In these circumstances, the Panel was satisfied the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself.
b. There was no application before the Panel to adjourn the hearing and no information that the Registrant would attend on an alternative date. The Panel therefore concluded that re-listing this review hearing was unlikely to serve any useful purpose.
c. The current suspension order is due to expire on 23 September 2022 and therefore it was in the public interest to have a mandatory review of that order.
d. The Panel appreciated that there may be some disadvantage to the Registrant in not being able to give evidence or make oral submissions. However, the Panel concluded that this potential disadvantage was outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that the hearing is heard and concluded expeditiously.
ORDER: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Ms Emily C Reacher for a further period of 3 months on the expiry of the existing Order.
The order imposed today will apply from 23 September 2022.
This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 23 December 2022.