Richard James Casson

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA21553

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 11:30 12/06/2015 End: 13:00 12/06/2015

Location: Health and Care Professions Council, Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London, SE11 4BU

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

Allegation:
(As found proven at the final hearing)
During the course of your employment as a Paramedic with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service:
1. Whilst attending incident 2353005 on 13 July 2012 you behaved inappropriately in that you:

a) Were using your mobile phone,
b) Stated ‘I’m bored or words to that effect’,
c) Stated ‘I’m losing interest’ or words to that effect,
2. Following incident 2535005 on 13 July 2012 you:
a) drove under emergency conditions without authorisation and/or justification,
b) Drove through a set of traffic lights that were red whilst driving under the emergency conditions referred to in 2a,
c)
ii. you were absent from the ambulance for approximately 38 minutes without proper explanation.
iii. you advised your colleague to book the ambulance clear at approximately 17.06 but did not return to the vehicle until approximately 17.13.
d) In being absent from the ambulance as referred to in 2c you delayed the response to incident 2853162 by 8 minutes.
4. Produced a forged letter from Dr SP Consultant Urology surgeon during the course of a disciplinary investigation.
5. The matter described in 4 is dishonest
6. The matters described in 1-5 constitute misconduct.
7. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

 

Finding

Preliminary Matters:
1. The Panel was satisfied that good service had been effected under the HCPC’s procedural Rules.

2. Ms Nike Gustave made an application for the hearing to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. Mr Casson has written to the HCPC on 18 May 2015, indicating certain matters, but also emphasising that he would not be attending the hearing today.

3. The Panel had regard to the HCPC’s submissions, and it accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. It also took into account the guidance in the HCPC Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant”. The Panel considered this matter with the utmost care and caution and balanced the Registrant’s interests and the public interest, exercising the principle of proportionality. The Panel decided that it was appropriate to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The Registrant has made it clear that he has voluntarily decided to be absent from today’s hearing, and, to that end, the Panel considers that it is fair and proportionate to continue the hearing in his absence. He has not requested an adjournment and there is no indication that if the Panel were to adjourn the hearing, he would attend on a future date. Furthermore, the current order against the Registrant is due to expire within a few weeks from today’s date, in the Panel’s judgement, it is in the public interest that the current order is reviewed today before it expires.

Decision

4. Ms Gustave referred the Panel to the decision of the final hearing on 12 June 2014. That Panel was of the view that the misconduct in relation to the two incidents on 13 July 2012 amounted to one day in an otherwise unblemished 17 year career as a paramedic. That Panel further concluded that, whilst the Registrant’s dishonesty was sophisticated in the context of his explanation of being under the influence of alcohol and medication, it was an isolated attempt to mislead the Trust’s investigators. That Panel stated that his dishonesty did not result in any gain to himself and did not pose any risk to the public; his dishonesty was not prolonged; it was admitted by him at an early stage of the investigation. That Panel concluded that the public and the public interest could be protected by imposing the period of suspension. That Panel hoped that this disposal would enable Mr Casson to engage with the HCPC and provide evidence that he would be able to remediate his misconduct by showing that he had taken appropriate steps to ensure that his misconduct would not be repeated. That Panel was of the view that if Mr Casson could show that he has proper insight into his misconduct, there could be a realistic prospect that repetition would not occur.

5. In reaching its decision today, on this first review, this Panel has paid regard to Ms Gustave’s submission, the Legal Assessor’s advice and the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy. It has taken into account that, as a reviewing panel, it must give respect to the previous panel’s decision, but that it should review the case completely.

6. The Panel noted that, in the intervening period between the substantive hearing and today, in his 18 May 2015 letter, Mr Casson wrote a detailed account of his views of the decisions made on 11 and 12 June 2014. He made certain remarks that appear to the Panel to dispute the decisions made and/or the evidence adduced in 2014. The Panel has determined that these are not relevant in any way to its remit today, as it cannot go behind the principle decisions of the Panel at that time which heard the case. This is so relating to the facts and misconduct, in particular. However, this Panel has a duty to re-visit fitness to practise on each review to ascertain if the registrant has remediated the misconduct so as to avoid it being repeated and to avoid there being a recurrence of the misconduct, with the commensurate risk to the public and the commensurate undermining of the public’s confidence in the profession and in this regulatory process.

7. In that respect, the Panel has concluded that the comments made by the registrant display an increasing and alarming total lack of insight, remorse or understanding of the regulatory process, his professional obligations and duties and the need for him to recognise his failings and to address them successfully. Moreover, in requesting to be struck off the register of paramedics, the Panel has concluded that this registrant has no desire or will to return, remediated, to his former profession.

8. This Panel approached each option from the least serious first.

9. The Panel considered taking no action, mediation or imposing a Caution Order and rejected these outcomes. In light of the failings highlighted, those failings remaining un-remediated and the contents of the Registrant’s letter dated 18 May 2015, the Panel concluded that there was a considerably high risk of repetition and the public remained at risk, should the registrant be returned to unrestricted practice. Moreover, the Panel concluded that the public’s trust and confidence in the profession and in this regulatory process would be undermined if these outcomes would be imposed, particularly in a dishonesty case with no acknowledgement of remediation of that, to date.

10. The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order. The Registrant has not engaged in this process to date until relatively recently. He has indicated he wishes to be struck off the paramedic register and therefore, the Panel has concluded that a Conditions of Practice Order would be unrealistic and unworkable and would remain so in the foreseeable future. 

11. The Panel next considered further extending the existing Suspension Order. Although some of the registrant’s failings identified by this case could be seen as remediable and the guidance in the Indicative Sanctions Policy states that a Striking Off Order is a sanction of the last resort, the Panel has determined that a further Suspension Order would be of no benefit in this case.

12. In this Panel’s judgement, the Registrant has little insight, no genuine remorse and a total failure to accept the findings of the substantive Panel, in a situation where he chose not to engage at that time. He has not appealed any of the various decisions of 11 and 12 June 2014 and now tries to bring his points to this Panel’s attention, by way of a type of indirect method of appeal in his letter dated 18 May 2015. This Panel finds that approach by this registrant to be unacceptable and evidence of his wholly inadequate ability to appreciate what it is to be a professional. Remediation is likely never to be embarked upon by this registrant in light of the tenor of his 18 May 2015 letter and the Panel has concluded that the confidence that the public is entitled to expect from this regulatory body would be undermined If this Panel were to allow yet another period of time to pass in this case with a Suspension Order in situ, where the Registrant apparently has no interest in engaging and actively seeks to be removed from the profession’s register. Therefore, the Panel has concluded that a further Suspension Order would not now be appropriate or proportionate.

13. Therefore, for these reasons, the only proportionate and appropriate sanction today is that of a Striking Off Order. The Panel is satisfied that the risk to the public would be avoided and the wider public interest would be upheld with the sanction of Strike Off. Moreover, a Striking Off Order would appear to reflect the wishes of Mr Casson and, so, in the Panel’s opinion, unusually, will be in his own best interests as well.

 

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Richard James Casson from the Register from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

This order comes into effect on 10 July 2015.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Richard James Casson

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
12/06/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off