Mr Wilson Thomas
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1. Being a registered Radiographer
a. On 15 March 2011, you attended an interview at Mid Cheshire Hospital Foundation Trust for a position as a Band 5 Radiographer and:
i. Achieved a score of 8% in a radiographer film viewing test concluded as part of the interview process; and
ii. Demonstrated limited knowledge of radiography during the course of that interview;
b. Not proved.
c. Took a Test of Competence on 12 November 2013 where you demonstrated you do not possess sufficient basic knowledge to be registered as a Radiographer.
2. The matters described in 1A(1), 1A(2) and 1C amount to a lack of competence.
3. By reason of that lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.
1. Mr Thomas has neither attended this hearing nor been represented at it. The Panel is satisfied that there was good service of the Notice of Hearing.
2. The Presenting Officer applied for the hearing to proceed in the absence of Mr Thomas.
3. In considering this application the Panel had very much in mind that the discretion to order that a hearing should proceed in the absence of the registrant is one to be taken with great caution. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPC’s Practice Note on the subject.
4. The conclusion of the Panel was that the hearing should proceed despite Mr Thomas’ absence. This was because there were no grounds on which the Panel could conclude that there was any likelihood that Mr Thomas would attend a hearing on a future occasion if it did not proceed at the present time. The Registrant had not attended previous substantive hearing in 2014. Apart from the fact that he accepted an invitation to attend and undertake the test of competence in November 2013, there has been no contact made by Mr Thomas with the HCPC. Specifically, there has been no contact with regard to the present hearing. Accordingly, the Panel found that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself and has waived his right to be present. The Panel permitted the hearing to continue in the absence of Mr Thomas.
5. On 15 March 2011 Mr Thomas attended an interview at the Leighton Hospital, part of the Mid-Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The interview was for a Band 5 Radiographer position. Mr Thomas’ performance at the interview was communicated to the HCPC very shortly after it occurred. Subsequently, further investigations were undertaken. The HCPC sought to contact institutions and referees identified by Mr Thomas in the CV he submitted for the purposes of the Leighton Hospital job application. These enquiries revealed the issue concerning Lincoln County Hospital in June 2010 relevant to paragraph 1b of the allegation. Finally, the HCPC asked Mr Thomas to undertake a test of competence, and this he undertook on 12 November 2013, an exercise reflected in paragraph 1c of the allegation.
6. The Registrant’s lack of competence was such that the 2014 Panel was satisfied that there were wide-ranging deficiencies in core knowledge and skills that would be expected of a newly qualified Radiographer. In the judgment of the 2014 Panel Mr Thomas would constitute a risk of danger to the public given his lack of understanding of the need to take appropriate x-rays, the ability to take x-rays properly, a lack of understanding of the appropriate requirements and the need to be able to justify radiation exposure. The 2014 Panel found that the Registrant was impaired and that it was appropriate and justified to suspend his registration, such were the wide-ranging deficiencies that the Panel heard evidence about.
7. The Panel today knows that it must consider whether the Registrant’s fitness to practice remains impaired and if that it is the case, whether the current Order need be revoked, varied, replaced or extended.
8. Mr Thomas’ fitness to practise was found to be impaired by the previous Panel. That Panel was not presented with any submissions on behalf of the Registrant, nor evidence of any remedial steps taken by Mr Thomas to address the serious deficiencies in this practice.
9. The Panel today conducts a comprehensive review of Mr Thomas’s fitness to practise but finds itself in much the same position as the previous Panel. This is because Mr Thomas has not engaged with the HCPC or placed any evidence before the Panel. The Panel has no information as to whether Mr Thomas has addressed the deficiencies identified in his rudimentary knowledge and skills.
10. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Mr Thomas remains impaired and went onto consider the appropriate and proportionate sanction.
11. It is clear that the Registrant poses a real danger to patients were he permitted to practice. It is similarly clear, given the extent of the deficiencies identified in the Registrant’s practice, that an informed member of the public would legitimately have very real concerns about being attended by a Radiographer against whom such findings have been made and not remedied.
12. The HCPC submitted that only a further period of suspension was appropriate in this instance, that being necessary to protect patients and the public interests.
13. The Panel considered that a sanction is only to be imposed to the extent that it is required to protect the public and to maintain a proper degree of confidence in the registered profession and in this regulatory process. To ensure that these principles are applied it is necessary for a Panel first to consider whether the finding on the allegation requires the imposition of any sanction. If it does, then the available sanctions have to be considered in an ascending order of seriousness until one that sufficiently addresses the issues of protection and the maintenance of confidence is reached.
14. As the finding in this case is one of lack of competence the sanction range ends with the power to make a suspension order. The option of striking-off is not available. The Panel has applied these principles and has heeded the terms of the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy document.
15. In a case of this seriousness, it would not be appropriate for a sanction not to be imposed. It is, important to repeat the finding that in November 2013 Mr Thomas’ level of knowledge and skills fell well below those of a first year Radiography student. There is no evidence that his knowledge and skills are now any different, with the consequence that there would be a real risk of patients suffering harm were he to be permitted to return to unrestricted practice. In the judgment of the Panel these factors result in a sanction being required and in a caution order being insufficient to protect the public.
16. So wide-ranging are the deficiencies there are no conditions of practice that could be imposed to ensure safe practice without making such an order tantamount to suspension. It follows from this that the only appropriate sanction in this case is a suspension order, and accordingly the Panel extends the order for a further period of 12 months, the sanction of Striking-Off not being available.
17. Common with all suspension orders, the order made today will be reviewed before it expires. The Panel acknowledges that it is customary to offer advice to suspended registrants so that they may be guided in the direction of steps they might take to assist the reviewing Panel. The nature and extent of the findings of this case are such that it has come to the conclusion that the only guidance it could give was there to be comprehensive evidence of a full range of skill and knowledge that a competent Radiographer must have.
The Registrar is directed to suspend the name of Mr Wilson Thomas from the Register for a further period of 12 months from the date this order comes into effect.
This order comes into effect when the existing order expires on 15 August 2015.
History of Hearings for Mr Wilson Thomas
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|14/07/2016||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Struck off|
|20/07/2015||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Suspended|