Alison E L Young

Profession: Speech and language therapist

Registration Number: SL07944

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 13/08/2015 End: 16:00 13/08/2015

Location: Hilton Belfast Hotel, 4 Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3LP

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Speech and Language

Therapist for Northern Health and Social Care Trust, from September 2006 to April 2012 you:

 

1. Did not keep accurate patient records, in that you:

 

a) did not record information given; and

 

b) did not record your reasoning for both dysphagic and communication.

 

2. Provided inappropriate clinical management and treatment, in that you:

 

a) did not fully assess patients but made recommendations;

 

b) did not give a diet status, even though there was a history of chest infections; and

 

c) did not arrange domiciliary visits given there was a clinical risk.

 

3. The matters described in paragraphs 1 - 2 constitute lack of

competence.

 

4. By reason of that lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Purpose of the Hearing:

1. The purpose of this hearing is to consider a proposed Voluntary Removal Agreement (VRA). The effect of the VRA is that the Allegation against the Registrant will be withdrawn and the Registrant will agree to her name being removed from the HCPC Register. It is not possible for a Registrant who faces an outstanding fitness to practice allegation to have their name removed from the Register. Therefore, it is necessary, if this end is to be achieved, for the proceedings against the Registrant to be withdrawn.

2. The Health and Care Professions Council Order 2001 does not explicitly provide for consent arrangements. The Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent advises that:
…neither the HCPC nor a Panel should agree to resolve a case by consent unless they are satisfied that:
• the appropriate level of public protection is being secured; and
• doing so would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.
… In cases where the HCPC is satisfied that it would be adequately protecting the public if the Registrant was permitted to resign from the Register, it may enter into a Voluntary Removal Agreement allowing the Registrant to do so, but on similar terms to those which would apply if the Registrant had been struck off.

Preliminary Matters:

3. The Panel found that there had been good service of the Notice of Hearing, in accordance with rule 3 of the Health and Care Professions Care (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 by notice dated 9 July 2015, as amended by notice dated 4 August 2015. The Registrant is aware of the hearing today and had attended in advance of the hearing to sign the VRA.

4. The Panel next considered whether to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel was advised by the Legal Assessor to consider the guidance in the HCPC Practice Note entitled Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and followed that advice. The Panel concluded that the Registrant is aware of the hearing today and has waived her right to attend. In the Panel’s view it is in the interest of the Registrant and in the public interest for the hearing to proceed in her absence.

Background:

5. The Registrant is registered in the Speech and Language Therapist Part of the HCPC Register. In August 2012, the HCPC received a referral from the Registrant’s former employer, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. The referral advised that the Registrant’s contract of employment with them had been terminated on 12 April 2012 following a Stage 2 Capability Hearing which took place on 3 April 2012. The HCPC made further enquiries and put an allegation to a Panel of the Investigating Committee. The allegation was that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of lack of competence due to failures in record keeping and the clinical management and treatment of service users. The alleged failures had persisted over a number of years despite considerable support being put in place for the Registrant. On 13 May 2013 an HCPC Investigating Committee Panel decided that there was a case to answer and that the matter should be referred to a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee.

6. In this case a VRA agreement has been signed by both parties, dated 12 August 2015.  The HCPC submits this is a proportionate and pragmatic way to dispose of the case in the public interest and that the Registrant’s request to be removed from the HCPC Register should be allowed.

7. The HCPC submitted that these are serious allegations which could lead to a finding of impairment. However the public interest does not require this case to proceed to a final hearing because the effect of the VRA is the same as a sanction to strike off the Registrant. Therefore the public would be adequately protected if the Registrant were permitted to be removed from the Register.
Decision:

8. The Panel is satisfied that voluntary removal is consistent with the protection of the public.  The Panel notes that the Registrant will be removed from the HCPC Register in the same way as if as a striking off order had been made against her. The Panel therefore consents to the HCPC discontinuing the above proceedings against the Registrant by means of a VRA. She will be removed from the HCPC Register as if a striking off order had been made against her under Article 29 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.

9. The Panel bore in mind the guidance in the practice note on Disposing of cases by Consent.  Removing the Registrant from the Register will prevent her from practising as a Speech and Language Therapist and in the Panel’s judgement this action will secure public protection. The concerns solely relate to a lack of competence, although a considerable amount of support had been provided to the Registrant over a number of years without any significant improvement in her practice. There are no allegations of misconduct. Accordingly there are no wider public interest issues arising from this case that might require a public hearing. As such, disposing of this matter by consent would not be detrimental to the wider public interest. The Panel is satisfied that the VRA is an appropriate and expeditious way of dealing with this matter. There is no public interest in proceeding to a final hearing and the VRA secures the necessary degree of public protection, whilst avoiding the unnecessary expense and inconvenience of a final hearing.

 

Order

10. Having reached this decision the Chairman of the Panel has, on behalf of the Panel, signed and dated the attached Consent Order which will take immediate effect.

11. The effect of this action is that the Registrant’s name will be removed from the public Register of practitioners Registered with the HCPC.

Notes

If the Registrant seeks to return to the HCPC Register at any time the application would be treated as if the registrant had been struck off as a result of that allegation.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Alison E L Young

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
13/08/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed