Mrs Karin Clarke

Profession: Occupational therapist

Registration Number: OT30576

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 20/11/2015 End: 17:00 20/11/2015

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

Panel: Health Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

Your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of Health in that your fitness to practise as an Occupational Therapist is impaired by reason of your health.

Finding

Preliminary matters:

Service / Proceeding in Absence:

1. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had been served with notice of the hearing in accordance with the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”).

2. Mr Chan made an application for the Panel to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel took into account the HCPC Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant and accepted the advice of the legal assessor. The Panel was aware that the Registrant had signed an agreement for voluntary removal from the register. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from the hearing and would be unlikely to attend at a future date if the hearing were to be adjourned. In the Panel’s judgment, no useful purpose would be served by an adjournment. The Panel considered that it was in the public interest and the Registrant’s interest for the matter to be heard and determined without further delay. The Panel therefore decided to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant.

Privacy application:

3. Mr Chan made an application for the entire hearing to take place in private on the basis that the case concerned the Registrant’s health. In the light of the information contained in the case papers, the Panel acceded to that application. What follows is the public version of the Panel’s decision.

Background:

4. The Registrant was employed by Kent Community NHS Trust (the Trust) as an Occupational Therapist from 2002 and was a Senior Occupational Therapist from 1 August 2006.

5. The Registrant experienced health problems from 2013, which caused her to take prolonged periods of sick leave. On 9 December 2013 her employment was terminated by the Trust on health grounds. There is no suggestion that the Registrant allowed her health to affect her performance whilst at work or that service users were adversely affected.

6. By letter dated 19 February 2014 the Registrant self-referred her dismissal on health grounds to the HCPC.

7. On 11 March 2014 the Registrant notified the HCPC that she wished to be removed from the register.

8. On 14 July 2014 a Panel of the Investigating Committee found that the Registrant had a case to answer in respect of an allegation that her fitness to practise is impaired by reason of her health.

9. The Registrant was understandably concerned and distressed that she was made subject to an allegation, and faced the prospect of proceedings before the HCPC in circumstances where (1) she had never allowed her health adversely to impact upon her treatment of service users (2) she had acted responsibly in self-referring her dismissal to the HCPC and (3) she had asked the HCPC to remove her name from the register. The Panel understands and sympathises with the Registrant’s position.

10. Nevertheless, the Registrant maintained her wish to be removed from the register in view of her ongoing health problems and entered into a Voluntary Removal Agreement with the HCPC dated 29 September 2015 under the terms of which:

1) The HCPC agreed to withdraw and discontinue all proceedings in relation to the allegation; and
2) The Registrant, in consideration of that withdrawal and discontinuance, agreed:

a. to resign from the HCPC register
b. to cease to practise as an Occupational Therapist or use any title associated with that profession; and
c. that, if the Registrant at any time seeks to be readmitted to the HCPC register, in considering any such application the HCPC shall act as if the Registrant had been struck off the register as a result of the allegation.

Decision:

11. The Panel was provided by the HCPC with a bundle of documents relating to the Registrant’s employment and health issues.

12. In all the circumstances the Panel was satisfied the Voluntary Removal Agreement was an appropriate disposal of the matter and that it addressed any public protection and wider public interest issues.

13. The Panel therefore consented to the HCPC discontinuing these proceedings.

Order

The Panel consented to the voluntary removal application.

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 Mrs Karin Clarke

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
20/11/2015 Health Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed