Rosemary Cott

Profession: Speech and language therapist

Registration Number: SL02602

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 12:00 04/09/2015 End: 16:00 04/09/2015

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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The following allegations were alleged and proved at the substantive hearing on 26 September 2011:
In the course of your employment from 15 October 2007 to 30 April 2008 as a Speech and Language Therapist with the East and North Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust (the Trust) you:
2. displayed a lack of awareness of the importance of patient confidentiality in that:
a) on 2 November 2007 you left your patient waiting list, containing confidential patient information, in a treatment room; and
4. displayed poor patient assessment and/or management skills in that:
 c) your analysis, description and diagnosis of patients’ swallowing disorders were often inadequate;
 d) you demonstrated poor awareness of the purpose of auscultation;
 e) on 19 December 2007 you were observed using a stethoscope incorrectly;
 f) on 4 March 2008 you demonstrated limited understanding of the reason for palpating a patient; and
5. were unable to conduct dysphagic patient assessments safely in that:
 a) you were observed carrying out cervical auscultations incorrectly;
 b) you demonstrated a lack of awareness regarding appropriate assessment technique for patients with a   reduced level of consciousness;
 c) poor knowledge of, and failure of adhere to, the Trust’s Dysphagia Policy.
6. displayed poor theoretical knowledge in that you were often unable to relate your observations of patients  to theory.
9. The matter set out in paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 constitute lack of competence and/or misconduct.
10. By reason of that lack of competence and/or misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.



1. The matters found, as identified in the Allegation and highlighted against each particular as set out above, resulted in a finding of lack of competence and current impairment. At the Final Hearing on the 26 September 2011, the Registrant became the subject of a Conditions of Practice Order. At an early review of that Order held on 5 October 2012, the reviewing panel established that there had been insufficient adherence to the terms of the conditions, including, in particular, compliance with the condition that required the Registrant to inform an employer that she was subject to a Conditions of Practice Order. This being the case, the reviewing panel imposed a Suspension Order to take the place of the Conditions of Practice Order.

2. Since that date there have been two substantive order review hearings. The Registrant attended the first review on the 3 September 2013. At that hearing the Registrant highlighted the difficulties which she had faced at the time of the events and since. She emphasised how difficult it had been to adhere to the Conditions of Practice Order that had been imposed on her. The second review was heard on 15 September 2014, when the Registrant did not attend but chose to send in her stead written representations. In those representations the Registrant stated that she was then working outside of her profession, had not worked within her profession for some time, and had no intention of returning to practise as a Speech and Language Therapist.


3. In undertaking its task today the Panel is conducting a comprehensive appraisal of the Registrant’s current abilities with a view to establishing whether she is now fit to return to unrestricted practice.  The Panel is not undertaking the task of rehearing the matters that had been brought against the Registrant nor going behind the previous findings. 

4. This Panel has taken into account all documentation placed before it and has heard and given appropriate weight to the oral evidence provided by the Registrant.  It has heard the parties’ submissions; taken and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, and it has reminded itself of the terms of the Council’s Practice Note on Mandatory Reviews of Substantive Orders.

5. This Panel was advised that under the provisions of Article 29(6) a Striking-Off Order is not available to a Panel where there has been a finding of lack of competence unless and until there has been a continuous unbroken period of two years since the date that the substantive order for conditions of practice or suspension took effect. In this instance there has now been in excess of three years eleven months during which the Registrant has been either the subject of a Conditions of Practice Order or a Suspension Order: the period of continuous suspension having started on the 5 October 2012.

6. The Panel heard today from the Council that there is no fresh information that would support the Panel in allowing the current order to lapse and the Registrant to return to unrestricted practice. There is no personal or professional information that would support a Condition of Practice Order being imposed. Given the period of time that the Registrant has been out of practice and her stated intention not to return to practice it was the Council’s position that a further period of suspension would serve no purpose and that at this time the proportionate and appropriate measure would be the imposition of a Striking-Off Order.

7. The Registrant has told the Panel that she has felt the impact of these proceedings keenly, particularly the way in which the wider context of a career can be lost from sight within a process that focuses solely on service user and public interest issues. She restated the personal and family issues which together with work pressures had contributed significantly to her latter, temporary, lack of ability. She had been working happily, with good feedback and without problems for nearly four decades before these factors collided.

8. During the hearing it was explained that in lack of competence and health cases there is an inbuilt mechanism for registrants to regain their abilities and health before a career is brought to an end by removal. There is no ability to resign from the register once a fitness to practise issue has been identified. Voluntary Removal is an extra-statutory means by which a registrant can have their name permanently removed from the register but again this is on the basis that it equates to a striking off. The Panel appreciated the Registrant’s concerns that her career would end in what she considered to be a manner so unreflective of her long unblemished service to her profession.

9. The Panel had no information before it that would support it drawing any conclusion other than that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired. There was no evidence of up-to-date knowledge, skills or training. The Panel noted that the Registrant had made some efforts to secure a returner course position but those had proved fruitless for a variety of reasons but the Registrant was now insistent that she had no intention of practising.

10. The Panel has discounted a Caution Order as it provided no service user protection. The Panel considered that Conditions of Practice which were focused purely on the personal training and development of the Registrant would prove unworkable given the difficulties that she reports encountering in obtaining suitable positions, and her clear statement that she no longer wishes to practise. Further, conditions in anticipation of employment will also prove unworkable given the historic and current fitness to practise issues that would have to be addressed. The Panel has therefore discounted a Conditions of Practice Order as being a practicable measure.

11. When considering whether to impose a further period of suspension the Panel took into account the Council’s representations that a further period of suspension would serve no purpose, there having been no progress during the two previous periods of suspension, as well as the Registrant’s clear intention not to practise.

12. The Panel has therefore decided that the appropriate and proportionate measure at this time is for the Registrant’s name to be removed from the register on a permanent basis. This Order is to take immediate effect.


Order: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Rosemary Cott from the Register with immediate effect. 


No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Rosemary Cott

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
04/09/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off