Ross M Taggart

Profession: Physiotherapist

Registration Number: PH83727

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 12:30 30/10/2015 End: 14:00 30/10/2015

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

As considered at the Final Hearing on 08 November 2012:

 

During the course of your practise as a Physiotherapist with Central Surrey Health Limited between May 2010 and January 2011, you:

 

1.     Removed 83 patient records from Epsom General Hospital and Leatherhead Hospital without explanation.

 

2.     Did not keep accurate patient records in that you:

 

a.             Did not complete patient notes adequately, or at all;

b.             Did not follow up on patient notes;

c.             Misfiled patient records; and

d.             Did not safeguard the confidentiality of patient records.

 

3.     The matters set out in paragraphs 1-2 amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence.

 

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

Finding

Preliminary matters:

Service

1. The Panel was aware that the notice of hearing, dated 30 September 2015, was posted to the Registrant at his registered address by first class post in good time. The Panel also noted that the Registrant was emailed a copy of the notice. The Panel was directed to the documents which established both the fact of the service and the identity of the Registrant’s registered address. The Panel is therefore satisfied that service has been effected in accordance with the rules.

Proceeding in absence

2. Ms Willoughby, on behalf of the HCPC, made an application that the matter should proceed in the absence of the Registrant. She advised that the Registrant had been made aware by letter and email of today’s hearing and had not responded.

3. This is a mandatory review and the Panel has heard that there has been no communication from the Registrant since the 7 November 2014 hearing. He was not present on the last occasion because, he said, he was then living in Pittsburgh, USA and could not afford to attend.

4. The Panel has concluded that the Registrant has voluntarily absented himself from the hearing. There has been no application to adjourn. It has therefore determined, in the interests of justice, to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.

Background

5. The Registrant worked as a Band 6 Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist at Epsom General Hospital from May to November 2010. He then worked at Leatherhead Hospital from November 2010 until January 2011. In February 2011 it was discovered that some of his patient notes were missing from Epsom General Hospital. In April 2011 it was discovered that some of his patient notes from Leatherhead hospital were also missing. As a result, a full audit of his patient notes was undertaken, leading to the allegations which came before the Conduct and Competence Committee on 8 November 2012. These he admitted and his fitness to practise was found to be impaired by reason of his misconduct. The sanction imposed was a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months. At that hearing the Panel said “that any reviewing Panel may be assisted by evidence of continuing professional development during the next 12 months and evidence, through a reflective journal, of the work undertaken and conclusions drawn, both personal and professional”.

6. At the review hearing on 7 November 2013, the Panel found that there was no evidence before it that the Registrant had remedied the failures in his practice nor that he had recognised or reflected upon the seriousness of those failures and the potential harm to service users. The reviewing Panel therefore found the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired and it extended the Suspension Order for a further period of 12 months.

7. The second review hearing took place on 7 November 2014. On that occasion the Registrant provided a statement describing his continuing commitment to his profession and the steps he had taken to ensure his continuing professional development. This was accompanied by a document entitled Action Plan and other documents described as Professional Reflections.

8. However, the Registrant had not provided any letters or reports from people he may have shadowed or observed, nor any reflective statements in relation to any impact his failure to keep accurate records had on service users. Nor did he provide any indication as to how he would address these failings.

9. In those circumstances, that panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired and the appropriate sanction to impose was an extension of the Suspension Order for a further period of 12 months. That panel, in common with the previous reviewing panel, said that any future panel could well be assisted by full details of steps taken by the Registrant to maintain his continuing professional development. It was further recommended that such details be supported by reports from practitioners and others whom he has shadowed or observed. In particular, it was stressed that any future panel would expect to see his written reflections on the effect of his failings on service users.

Decision

10. Today, Ms Willoughby told the Panel, that the HCPC had heard nothing from the Registrant since 7 November 2014. Thus, this Panel has no material before it to suggest that the Registrant has any insight into his identified failings, nor kept his CPD up-to-date. Indeed, the Registrant’s silence means that the Panel has no idea what he is doing at the moment or where he is living.

11. In all the above circumstances, the Panel has determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.

12. The Panel took into account the HCPC’s Indicative Sanction policy and, in so doing, had well in mind the public interest. It considered the sanctions in ascending order of seriousness. It applied the principle of proportionality and weighed the interests of the public against those of the Registrant.

13. The Panel concluded that, in the light of the Registrant’s non-engagement with these proceedings, neither a Caution Order nor a Conditions of Practice Order would address the Registrant’s failings or be sufficient to safeguard the public against the risk of repetition. It also considered whether to extend the current Order of Suspension. In this context, the Panel was mindful that, despite many opportunities provided to him in the past, the Registrant has failed to act upon any of the recommendations of the previous panels.

14. Thus, in all the circumstances, the Panel is left with no other option but to determine that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction is to strike the name of Mr Ross M Taggart from the Register.
 

Order

The Panel decided to strike the Registrant from the Register.

Notes

The Strike Off  takes effect upon expiry of the current Suspension Order, i.e. on 6 December 2015.

 

This was a Substantive  Review hearing for Mr Ross M Taggart, before the Conduct and Competence Committee on 30 October 2015, at the Health and Care Professions Council.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Ross M Taggart

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
30/10/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off