Robert J Toney

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA00186

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 09/09/2015 End: 16:00 09/09/2015

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

Allegation as found proved at the final hearing:
In the course of your employment as a Paramedic with South Western Ambulance Service:
1. On 5 March 2013, in relation to the treatment of a new born baby, you did not:
a) Deliver ventilations to the baby promptly;
b) Oxygenate the baby promptly;
c) Use a mucus extractor to clear mucus from the baby's airway;

e) Communicate effectively with the Clinical Hub, in that you did not:
i. Advise the Clinical Hub that the baby was suffering breathing difficulties; ii. Seek confirmation that the supporting crew was en route and likely time of arrival;
iii. Seek urgent assistance;
iv. Request that the supporting crew bring resuscitation equipment in the event of their arrival being imminent;
f) Act in an urgent manner in relation to a time critical patient;

2. The matters set out at paragraph 1(a) – 1(b) and 1(e) to 1(f) constitute misconduct.

3. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters:
Service:
1. The Panel was aware that written notice of these proceedings was posted by first class post to the Registrant at his registered address on 14 August 2015. The Panel was shown documents which established both the fact of the service and the identity of the Registrant’s registered address. In these circumstances the Panel accepted that proper service of the notice had been effected.
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant:
2. Ms Aumeerally on behalf of the HCPC submitted that the Panel should consider the application in the absence of the Registrant.
3. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the legal assessor.
4. The Panel was aware that a decision to proceed in the absence of the Registrant was one to be taken with great caution.  However the Panel decided to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The reasons are as follows:
• service of the appropriate notice of this hearing has been properly effected;
• the Registrant has indicated his consent to the disposal of this case by way of a VRA;
• there is no reason to suppose that an adjournment would result in the future attendance of the Registrant;
• there is a public interest in proceeding with the current hearing, and proceeding would be in the Registrant’s own interests;
• in all the circumstances the absence of the Registrant should be treated as voluntary.
Background:
5. The   Registrant   became   a   Paramedic   in   1994   and was based at Derriford Ambulance Station.  On 05 March 2013 he was deployed in a Rapid Response Vehicle and was working as a sole responder. He was sent on an emergency call to the home of a woman in labour but on arrival was told, by ambulance control, that the baby was born. The allegation sets out the alleged shortcomings  in the  Registrant’s   treatment   of  the  new  born  baby  who  was  not breathing  properly. The Registrant was the only Paramedic on the scene for 5 to 6 minutes before the supporting Paramedic Crew, consisting of SH and KK, arrived. It was SH’s perception that the Registrant had failed to provide basic lifesaving ventilation or oxygenation and that the standard of care given was inadequate. A trust investigation was conducted which concluded that the Registrant had not provided appropriate care and that he could not return to work without restrictions. The Registrant took early retirement in August 2013 and did not return to work as a Paramedic.
6. On 18-20 August 2014 there was a hearing of the allegation against the Registrant and the Panel made the findings set out above under the heading of “Allegation as found proved at the final hearing”. On 20 August 2014 the Panel imposed a 12 month suspension order.
7. On 12 August 2015 there was a review of the suspension order imposed on 20 August 2014. The Registrant was not present or represented at that hearing. Prior to that hearing the HCPC and the Registrant had been in discussion about a VRA which would enable the Registrant to have his name removed from the HCPC’s Register on the usual terms that apply to such agreements. The Panel was informed that the documentation then in existence did not accurately reflect that the Registrant was the subject of a suspension order following a full hearing. The Panel was accordingly asked by the representative of the HCPC to adjourn the review hearing so that the documentation could be amended. The Panel considered the application and agreed to adjourn the review hearing to the present date.
8. Ms Aumeerally on behalf of the HCPC has asked the Panel to exercise its discretion to approve the disposal of the present proceedings by way of a VRA. She submitted that as the Registrant has applied to the HCPC for the removal of his name from the Register, effective from today’s date, the existing suspension order should be revoked so as to permit the removal from the Register of the Registrant’s name.                   
9. The Panel has had regard to the following documents all of which it has read:
• a document entitled “Voluntary Removal Agreement“ dated 09 September 2015 signed both by the Registrant and by John Barwick for and on behalf of the HCPC;
• a letter executed by the Registrant and addressed to the Registrar of the HCPC in which he asked that his name be removed from the HCPC effective as and from 09 September 2015;
• a  document identified as Schedule A and entitled “The Allegation”;
• a document identified as Schedule D and entitled “Agreed Statement”.
10. With regard to Schedules A and D of the VRA this Panel noted that the allegation set out therein was the original allegation faced by the Registrant, not that which had been found proved at the substantive hearing. The Panel therefore has directed that Schedule D should be amended so as to reflect the findings of the original panel.
11. In deciding whether or not to give permission to dispose of these proceedings by way of a VRA, the Panel had regard to the Practice Note which the Council published in August 2012 entitled “Disposal of cases by Consent”.
12. The Panel has decided to accept the submissions of Ms Aumeerally on behalf of the HCPC and to revoke the existing order with immediate effect so as to allow the immediate and consequential removal from the HCPC’s Register of the name of the Registrant. In coming to this conclusion the Panel has had regard to the following considerations:
• the Registrant has admitted in full the allegation found proved by the panel at the initial hearing  including the allegation that the conduct found proved amounted to misconduct and that his fitness to practise was thereby impaired;
• that as the name of the Registrant will be removed from the Register with immediate effect the Registrant will be unable to practise as a Paramedic and further the Registrant has undertaken not to practice as a Paramedic or use any title associated with that profession;
• that the Registrant accepts that if at any time he seeks to return to the HCPC Register the application would be treated as if the Registrant had been struck off as a result of the allegation found proved at the initial hearing;
• that the public interest is fully protected by the action now sought by the HCPC and in view of the fact that there has been a full hearing and substantive findings there is no public interest to be served by a further continuance of these proceedings.

Order

The Panel’s decision is that the existing suspension order should be revoked with immediate effect so as to allow the removal of the Registrant’s name from the Register of the HCPC effective from today’s date.

Notes

If the Registrant seeks to return to the HPC 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 Robert J Toney

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