Helen A Zenon

Profession: Dietitian

Registration Number: DT05525

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 12:00 30/07/2015 End: 16:00 30/07/2015

Location: Park Plaza Cardiff, Greyfriars Road, Cardiff, CF10 3AL

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Conditions of Practice

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Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Dietitian, during August 2008 to July 2010, you:

1.     Added or accepted patients as friends on Facebook and shared personal information with them.

2.     Sent an email to a patient on 27 May 2010, and used unprofessional language in that you said “PITA” which meant ‘Pain in the Arse.’

3.     Did not store patient records appropriately in that you:

a.     Placed confidential patient records unsecurely on your desk.

b.     Placed reports in patient records when those reports expressly stated that they were not to be stored in patient records.

c.     Stored patient records from your previous role at Queen Mary’s Sidcup NHS Trust, on your desk, which you were not authorised to hold.

4.     You did not provide adequate patient care in that you did not complete follow-up actions after patient appointments and/or referrals.

 

Finding

Background
1. Mrs Zenon is employed by the Cwm Taf Health Board (the “Health Board”). The allegation against Mrs Zenon was considered at a Final Hearing on 22 to 24 July 2013. The Panel found that the facts in the allegation were proved and that they constituted misconduct. Although the Final Hearing Panel was satisfied that Mrs Zenon is a competent Dietitian they concluded that Mrs Zenon’s fitness to practise was impaired. They identified that Mrs Zenon had not demonstrated clear strategies to cope with personal stress and her workload. She did not have a proper and thorough understanding of appropriate professional boundaries. She did not fully recognise the importance of the distinction between a personal friendship and a professional relationship and the imbalance of power in a professional relationship.  The Final Hearing Panel also concluded that Mrs Zenon did not have full insight into the issue of security of records and confidentiality. The Panel decided that the appropriate and proportionate sanction was a Conditions of Practice Order for one year.

2. The order was reviewed by a Panel on 04 August 2014. At that hearing Mrs Zenon told the Panel that she had remained employed by the Health Board, but she has not worked as a Dietitian since the Final Hearing. She also said that she had faced a disciplinary hearing in October 2013 and she had submitted a grievance in November 2013. Mrs Zenon explained that these matters had occupied her time and energy and that she had also had periods of absence due to ill health. Mrs Zenon was working in the Patient Care and Safety Department. Her role was primarily administrative. Mrs Zenon told that Panel that she self-referred the matter that led to the disciplinary hearing to the HCPC and that it was under investigation.

3. The Panel on 04 August 2014 concluded that Mrs Zenon had not taken all the necessary steps to rectify the deficiencies identified by the Final Hearing Panel and to demonstrate that she had done so. The Panel decided that the appropriate and proportionate order was to continue the Conditions of Practice for another year.

4. Today Mrs Zenon told the Panel that the HCPC were taking no action in relation to the matter that had been referred following her disciplinary hearing in 2013. She had been on sick leave from May 2014 until April 2015 when she returned to work as a Band 5 Concerns Investigation Officer in the Board’s Patient Care and Safety Department. Mrs Zenon has not worked as a Dietitian since 2010 and she has found it difficult to keep up to date with professional issues other than by reading relevant publications.

5. Mrs Zenon also told the Panel that she would like to practise as a Dietician in the future. She had been unable to complete the Development Plan, as required by the Conditions of Practice Order, as she has been concentrating on her new role.

6. Mrs Zenon told the Panel that she felt supported in her current role. She also gave details of various professsionals and organisations she was in contact with in relation to her health problems.

7. She asked the Panel to extend the order for six months to allow her to complete the Development Plan.

Decision
8. This Panel has comprehensively reviewed the order. It has taken into account all the evidence including the oral evidence which Mrs Zenon gave today. It has also taken into account the submissions of Mr Thompson, on behalf of the HCPC and Ms Brown, on behalf of Mrs Zenon.

9. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

10. Mrs Zenon has not yet taken all the necessary steps to rectify the issues identified by the Panel in 2013. Accordingly, the Panel has concluded that her fitness to practise remains impaired.

11. Although Mrs Zenon has not yet addressed all the issues raised at the original hearing the Panel is impressed with the steps she has taken so far. It is clear that Mrs Zenon has had considerable difficulties in her personal life and it is to her credit that she is now managing to undertake what appears to be a very demanding job albeit, not in the area of dietetics.

12. The Panel has concluded that a Conditions of Practice Order remains the appropriate and proportionate sanction. However, the Panel has amended the terms of the order with immediate effect so as to make clearer the actions Mrs Zenon needs to take. The order will be for a period of six months which the panel considers to be sufficient for Mrs Zenon to address the remaining areas of concern.

13. The order will be reviewed before it expires.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to annotate the Register to show that for a period of six months from the date this order takes effect you, Helen Zenon, must comply with the following conditions of practice:

1. You must produce written evidence to the reviewing Panel of steps you have taken to demonstrate:

(a) Your understanding of policies and issues around confidentiality of patient information and the storage of service user and/or patient records

(b) A clear understanding of the nature of professional boundaries with service users and/or patients

2.   You must produce written evidence to the reviewing Panel that you are able to recognise and identify early warning signs that your own well-being or professional performance may be at risk due to stress and that you have strategies in place to deal with such issues. Such evidence may include support you have received and can access in future from appropriate professionals or organisations.

Notes

 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Helen A Zenon

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
20/01/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed
30/07/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
21/07/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Hearing has not yet been held