Sulaiman G Gegbe

Profession: Biomedical scientist

Registration Number: BS44035

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 08:30 01/06/2015 End: 11:30 01/06/2015

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

During the course of your practice as a Biomedical Scientist:

1. On 14 July 2011, you:

a. Incorrectly calibrated the total bilirubin assay on the Architect Analyser despite instructions from the Section Leader, JC that it was not required;

b. ran quality checks that failed the standard deviation limits and you did not rectify the anomalies;

2

c. ran and reported 9 patients’ total bilirubin results despite the failed quality checks;

d. did not contact the referring clinicians to discuss the abnormal results.

e. authorised all the results indicating that the results were a true bilirubin result.

2. On 15 July 2011, you ran quality checks which failed and further reported on total bilirubin reports despite the failure.

3. On 29 September 2011, refused to leave the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital when asked by AH and SS which resulted in the police being called to escort you from the premises.

4. The matters set out at 1a - 2 amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence.

5. By reason of that misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired

6. The matters set out at 3 amount to misconduct.

7. By reason of that misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Background
1. The panel at the substantive hearing on 04 October 2012 found all the particulars proved. On 29 September 2011 a decision was taken by hospital management that the Registrant should be suspended. When this decision was communicated to him around lunchtime and he was asked to surrender his identity badge and keys he refused to comply and returned to his workplace. His refusal continued for a number of hours despite visits from members of the Human Resources Department and hospital security and only ended when the Police arrived at approximately 6:00pm. He left the building accompanied by the Police. The original panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s actions had departed significantly from Standard Operating Procedures and his failings amounted to misconduct. The Registrant’s behaviour in refusing to leave the hospital premises when requested to do so also amounted to misconduct. In considering impairment the panel was particularly concerned that the Registrant had said nothing to suggest that his clinical performance or his attitude towards the potential consequences for service users had changed. The Registrant did not attend the substantive hearing on 03 and 04 October 2012 and he did not engage with the HCPC prior to the review hearing on 04 October 2013.  At that hearing he stated that in 2011 he had personal issues and suggested matters could have been dealt with locally, rather than being escalated to the HCPC. He said he had been between “a rock and a hard place” and he was obliged to “follow the rules”. He did not disregard patients and loved his work. After he was suspended, he completed a health advisor course and worked for Royal Mail.  He also worked for an organisation which assists people with saving money on their utility/energy bills and this role demonstrates his ability to engage and communicate with people. Following his dismissal from the Royal Free NHS Trust he worked as a locum Biomedical Scientist at Walsall Hospital prior to his suspension. 

2. The reasons given by the panel at the final hearing, for imposing the original Suspension Order included the attitude displayed by the Registrant at the time of the events and the lack of insight into his actions.  The evidence suggested that the Registrant’s abilities and attitude had not altered.

3. The Registrant has not worked within a Biomedical Scientist’s environment since October 2012 although he had worked at Walsall Hospital, prior to the final hearing.  He maintained that he had worked within this supportive environment satisfactorily.  The Registrant has been unsuccessful in securing work as a medical laboratory assistant as he was suspended from the Register and he was also considered overqualified for the position.

4. On the crucial issue of reflection and insight into past events the Registrant stated in a letter to the HCPC in February 2012, that the fault lay with his then employer and their procedures and that this matter could have been dealt with at a local level and not escalated to the HCPC.  The previous panels found the Registrant’s continued lack of understanding of his role in the events that led to him facing these allegations was very concerning. He demonstrated a serious lack of understanding of the responsibilities and duties of an autonomous practitioner.  He took no responsibility for his part in the events in July 2011 and failed to see the potential risks to service users.  Nine separate service user samples produced exceptionally high results that were manifestly erroneous, such that they should have instantly prompted the Registrant to withhold them.

5. The function of this Panel is not to go behind the decisions taken by the original HCPC panel or the reviewing panels.

6. The original panel found that the Registrant did not lack the skills and knowledge to perform the relevant tasks properly. However the Panel identified the following aggravating features in the case: particulars 1 and 2 amounted to a serious failure to apply Standard Operating Procedures although there was no lack of competence. There was a finding of serious misconduct involving breaches of standards 1, 7 and 13 of the HCPC Standards of Conduct Performance and Ethics. The original panel found that: “Mr Gegbe had a complete disregard for the potential consequences of his actions. In a profession where accuracy and personal integrity are essential for patient safety, the findings against Mr Gegbe are of the utmost seriousness.” The panel concluded that he must be prevented from practising for patient safety reasons. Without a “genuine and sustained change of attitude” a Striking-Off Order would be the only appropriate sanction.

7. He attended the hearing on 04 October 2013 when the panel found he “…has very limited insight into his scientific / technical, attitudinal failings and events leading to the referral to the HCPC”. Also “Mr Gegbe has yet to fully reflect upon his actions whilst employed at the Royal Free NHS Trust.” The panel imposed a further suspension order.

8. On 15 April 2014 the panel decided to impose a further period of suspension and stated that: “The Registrant’s answers to the Panel’s questions demonstrated a serious lack of understanding of the responsibilities and duties of an autonomous practitioner. He still took no responsibility for his part in the events in July 2011 and failed to see the potential risks he had exposed service users to”.
9. The panel on 03 July 2014 also heard evidence from the Registrant and decided that he “…had not reflected on his actions nor learnt from the disciplinary or regulatory process”. The CPD activities he produced were described by the Panel as “random and opportunistic”. However the Panel concluded he should be afforded a “last opportunity” to show that his fitness to practise is no longer impaired.
10. On 09 January 2015 the Registrant gave oral evidence on oath at a further review, stating that he has supplied the information requested, despite personal problems, and difficulties, adding that he felt unclear, on exactly what was required. The panel found he has developed insight into the potential consequences of his actions for service users, and stated: “Mr Gegbe was convincing, in showing how he would handle any similar situation in the future”. This persuaded the panel that the risk of reoccurrence was low but his fitness to practise remained impaired due to: “The length of time that has passed since he last practised. The evidence of CPD presented by him to the Panel did not provide surety of targeting and reflection in relation to the allegations found proved and the associated risk to service users. However the current impairment of Mr Gegbe’s fitness to practise could be managed, through the imposition of conditions of practice for a period of 12 months”.


Decision
11. This is an early review of a Conditions of Practice order imposed on 09 January 2015, pursuant to Article 30 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 (the Order) which states:
(2) Subject to paragraph (1), on the application of the person concerned or otherwise, at any time an order made by the Conduct and Competence Committee or the Health Committee under article 29(5)(b) to (d) is in force, the Committee which made the order or, if the matter has been referred to the other Committee, that Committee, may review the order and may take any of the steps referred to in paragraph (4)…
(4) The steps mentioned in paragraph (2) are for the Committee to—
(a) confirm the order;
(b) extend, or further extend, the period for which the order has effect;
(c) reduce the period for which the order has effect, but in the case of a caution order not so that it has effect for less than one year beginning with the date on which the order was made under article 29(5)(d);
(d) replace the order with any order which it could have made at the time it made the order being reviewed and the replacement order shall have effect for the remainder of the term of the order it replaces;
(e) subject to paragraph (6), revoke the order or revoke any condition imposed by the order;
(f) vary any condition imposed by the order.

12. This is an early review at the request of the HCPC. The Panel today has taken into account the Registrant’s oral evidence, the documentary evidence, the representations of the parties, the advice of the Legal Assessor and the Guidance in the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy.   The Panel has the power to confirm the existing Order, extend or reduce the period of the Order, replace the Order with any other Order the original panel may have imposed at the Substantive Hearing (including a Striking-Off Order), to revoke the Order or to vary the conditions of practice.

13. The HCPC submits today that the Registrant has failed to comply with the following conditions of practice imposed on 09 January 2015:
…4. You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:
C. any prospective employer (at the time of your application).


14. The HCPC states that the Registrant dishonestly failed to refer to the above conditions in five job applications, in relation to posts in: Stoke, Cardiff, Tunbridge Wells, Wythenshawe and Woolwich.

15. The Registrant states that he had no intention to mislead potential employers and he would have disclosed the conditions to an employer. The application forms did not disclose his conditions of practice due to a genuine honest mistake in using a previous profile drafted before the conditions were imposed on 09 January 2015.


16. The Panel finds that the Registrant made five job applications for the post of Biomedical Scientist on 29 and 31 January 2015 following the imposition of a Conditions of Practice Order on 09 January 2015. He had previously been suspended for a lengthy period. It is clear from the details contained in the job applications, which the Registrant completed, that changes had been made to his profile and information had been added to it, since the imposition of the Suspension Order. The Panel therefore rejects the evidence of the Registrant that he omitted to refer to the conditions of practice in the applications because he had used an out of date profile, which predated the imposition of HCPC sanctions upon him. The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant deliberately misled five potential employers, and in relation to one application, this led to an interview on 24 February 2015 at which he also failed to disclose that he was the subject of conditions of practice.


17. The Panel further finds, that the Registrant’s conduct in failing to disclose the conditions in five job applications was dishonest by the standards of ordinary honest people and that he would have realised his conduct was dishonest by those standards.

18. The Panel concludes that the Registrant has demonstrated a lack of insight and continuing misconduct by reason of his dishonesty in breach of standard 13 of the HCPC’s standards of conduct, performance and ethics which states: ‘you must behave with honesty and integrity and make sure that your behaviour does not damage the public’s confidence in you or your profession.’


19. In the circumstances the only appropriate sanction is a Striking-Off Order. No other sanction would deter other registrants from similar behaviour, maintain confidence in the profession, the regulatory process and protect the public. A further period of suspension would serve no useful purpose and conditions of practice are no longer appropriate, due to deliberate and repeated non-disclosure, in breach of the existing conditions, demonstrating that the Registrant cannot be trusted to comply with any conditions of practice imposed upon him by a panel of the HCPC.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Sulaiman George Gegbe from the register on the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

Right of Appeal:
The Registrant may appeal to the appropriate court against the decision of the Panel and the order it has made. In this case the appropriate court is the High Court in England and Wales.


Under Articles 29 and 38 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, an appeal must be made to the court not more than 28 days after the date when this notice is served on the Registrant. The order made against the Registrant will not take effect until that appeal period has expired or, if they appeal during that period, until that appeal is disposed of or withdrawn.


Interim Order:
The Panel makes an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, the same being necessary to protect members of the public and being otherwise in the public interest. This order will expire: (if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made; (if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.


 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Sulaiman G Gegbe

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
01/06/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off