Anne M Leonard

Profession: Occupational therapist

Registration Number: OT29183

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 11/09/2015 End: 12:00 11/09/2015

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

The following allegation was put before a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee at a substantive hearing on 09 – 12 September 2013.
During your employment as an Occupational Therapist for West London Mental Health NHS Trust, between February 2009 and 24 April 2012 you:
1. Failed to maintain adequate records in that you:
a. Did not document relevant information on the electronic system.
b. Did not complete records of assessments and/ or actions in a timely manner.
2. Between April 2011 and 24 April 2012, you failed to conduct adequate assessments in that you:
a. Were unable to make informed clinical judgements without support and guidance.
b. Were unable to articulate your clinical reasoning.
c. Made inappropriate recommendations.
d. On 11 April 2012, instructed a client to start at the wrong end of the maze when administering a standardised cognitive assessment using CAPE.
3. On 10 January 2012 you did not use the correct manual handling technique when transferring a client from sitting to standing.
4. The matters described in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 constitute lack of competence.
5. By reason of that lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.
At the substantive hearing on 9 – 12 September 2013 the Panel found particulars 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d proved. Particular 3 was not found proved. That Panel found the proven particulars amounted to a lack of competence and found Miss Leonard’s fitness to practise to be impaired. That Panel imposed a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months.
The Suspension Order was extended for a further period of 12 months at a review hearing on 03 October 2014.

Finding

Preliminary Matters:
Service:
1. The Panel was informed by the hearings officer that notice of a review hearing was sent to Miss Leonard, the Registrant’s, registered address by letter dated 05 August 2015. The Panel notes that subsequently a Voluntary Removal Agreement was signed by the Registrant to be operative from the date of this hearing.  The Panel was satisfied that notice had been properly served as required by the Rules.

Proceeding in absence:
2. Mr Thompson applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s, absence. The Panel received and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who advised that the Panel’s discretion to proceed in the Registrant’s absence should only be exercised with the utmost care and caution.
3. The Panel concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself and there was no evidence that she would attend if the hearing was adjourned. The Panel noted that the purpose of this hearing was to consider the terms of a Voluntary Removal Agreement agreed between the HCPC and the Registrant which had been signed by her. The Panel considered that it was in the public interest and in the Registrant’s own interest that the agreement should be considered expeditiously. Accordingly, the Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.
Background:
4. At the relevant times (between February 2009 and 24 April 2012) the Registrant was a registered Occupational Therapist employed by the West London Mental Health NHS Trust. During the Registrant’s employment concerns were raised in relation to a number of areas of her practice including the standard of her record keeping, clinical reasoning and inappropriate recommendations made to service users. An investigation was carried out by the Trust which resulted in a capability hearing. At the capability hearing in July 2012 the Registrant was deemed incapable of continuing her role as an Occupational Therapist. She was referred to Occupational Health but refused to attend. Following this, her employment with the Trust was terminated on 17 August 2012.
5. At the HCPC substantive hearing on 09 – 12 September 2013 the allegations, as set out above, were considered by a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee and the Registrant’s fitness to practise was found to be impaired by reason of lack of competence. A Suspension Order for 12 months was imposed.
6. On review of that order on 03 October 2014, it was found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired and the Suspension Order was extended for a further 12 months.
7. The Panel heard submissions from Mr Simon Thompson. He submitted that the Registrant had accepted the findings made against her following her request to be removed from the Register. Mr Thompson further submitted that the HCPC was satisfied that voluntary removal from the Register was an appropriate disposal of this case and would protect the public and was in the public interest, given its effect was the same as a strike-off from the Register following a finding of impairment of fitness to practice.
Decision:
8. The Panel took the advice of the Legal Assessor which it accepted. He reminded the Panel that it had a discretion whether or not to accept the application for voluntary removal from the register but that the discretion was not absolute. He advised the Panel of the factors that should be taken into account by it.
9. The Panel first reminded themselves of the guidance offered in the HCPC Practice Note entitled “Disposal of Cases by Consent”. The Panel noted that it had the power to adopt one of two courses of action:
i. to deal with the case in an expedited manner by approving the proposal set out in the Voluntary Removal Agreement;
ii. to reject the proposal and set the case down for a further review hearing.
10. The Panel had regard to the fact that the failings found, concerned events from 2009 to 2012 and that the substantive hearing concluded on 12 September 2013 when a suspension order for 12 months was imposed upon the Registrant’s registration.  On 3 October 2014 at a review hearing the Panel extended the suspension for a further 12 months. In its decision the Panel noted that the Registrant had stated a desire to have her name voluntarily removed from the Register and that Panel asked the HCPC to explore if this were an appropriate course of action.
11. The Panel considered that the failings identified had been serious and gave rise to concerns in relation to the safety of service users and the wider public interest in maintaining confidence in the profession and the regulatory process, and in upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour.
12. The Panel has taken into consideration that the Registrant has now been suspended for 2 years and would therefore have the power to consider striking her off the register. A previous Panel had found her fitness to practice impaired and this was 2 years ago. This Panel has no information relating to any remediation undertaken by the Registrant and therefore could not be satisfied if now restored to the Register she would be safe to practise without restriction.
13. The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant has ceased all forms of occupational therapy practice and has no intention to return. This is supported by medical evidence with which the Panel has been provided. The Panel is therefore satisfied that the Registrant has full insight into her current situation and understands exactly the consequences should her application be accepted by the Panel today. It is therefore satisfied that this is an application that the Registrant has fully considered.
14. Accordingly the Panel determined that consenting to the Voluntary Removal Agreement which has a similar effect to that of a striking off order, would adequately address the public protection issues in this case, as it prevents the Registrant from practising or applying to re-join the Register for a period of five years. The Registrant has communicated to the HCPC that she does not intend to return to practising as an occupational therapist so it is in the interests of the Registrant and in the wider public interest to conclude this matter today.
15. For all these reasons, the current suspension is revoked and the Voluntary Removal Agreement signed by all parties on 19 August 2015 is approved and takes effect from today’s date 11 September 2015.

 

Order

No information currently available

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 the allegation.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Anne M Leonard

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
11/09/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed