Peter T James

Profession: Hearing aid dispenser

Registration Number: HAD00656

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 13:00 21/04/2016 End: 16:00 21/04/2016

Location: Park Plaza Cardiff, Greyfriars Road, Cardiff, CF10 3AL

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: No further action

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Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Hearing Aid Dispenser with Amplifon, you:

 

1. Did not keep adequate records including appointment notes, hearing tests, medical referrals and signed receipts on service user files.

 

3. Did not perform masking when required on audiometry.

 

4. Did not sign off audiometric assessments with audiometer details.

 

5. The matters described in paragraphs 1 - 4 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

 

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

Finding

Preliminary matters:

Service of Notice of Hearing:

1.             The Registrant confirmed that he received the Notice of Hearing in good time and that it clearly contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing.  The Panel was satisfied there had been effective service.

Background:

2.             The Registrant is a Hearing Aid Dispenser who was employed by Amplifon in Cardiff from 18 January 1999 until March 2013. On 1 May 2014, a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee found the Particulars 1, 3 and 4 were proved. It went on to determine that only Particular 1 was serious enough to amount to misconduct. That Panel found that his fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his misconduct, having found that he did not keep accurate records, including appointment notes, hearing tests, medical referrals, and signed receipts on service user files. On that date, the Panel imposed a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months.

3.             The Suspension Order was reviewed on 8 May 2015 and on that date the Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired. That Panel determined that the Registrant had demonstrated remorse into his misconduct and some insight into his failings. It was determined that, in light of the progress on the part of the Registrant into remediating his failings, it was appropriate and proportionate to impose a Conditions of Practice Order for a period of 12 months when the Suspension Order lapsed. The conditions that were imposed on the Registrant’s practice were as follows:

1.             You must promptly inform the HCPC if your employment status changes or if you take up any further employment.

2.             You must promptly inform the HCPC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against you by your employer.

3.             You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:

(a)            Any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work;

(b)            Any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application);

(c)            Any prospective employer (at the time of application).

4.             You must work with your supervisor to formulate a Personal Development Plan designed to address the deficiencies in your record keeping.

5.             Within 3 months of the Operative date you must forward a copy of you Personal Development Plan to the HCPC.

6.             You must meet with your supervisor on a monthly basis to consider progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan.

7.             You must allow your supervisor to provide information to the HCPC about your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan.

8.             You must maintain a reflective practice profile detailing the rationale for improved record keeping including the benefits to clients, colleagues, and your professional practice. You must produce the reflective practice profile for the next reviewing panel.

4.             The Registrant produced a bundle containing the following documents to the Panel:

a)             A reflective letter;

b)             A copy of his Personal Development Plan;

c)             A reference from his line manager;

d)             Records of Supervisor Monthly Meetings;

e)             A statement of Reflective Practice;

f)              A copy of his Reflective Journal;

g)             Examples of relevant recent records.

 

5.             In opening, Mr Williams, on behalf of the HCPC, outlined the background of the case to the Panel. He indicated that the HCPC’s position was neutral with regard to what action should be taken by the Panel today.

6.             The Registrant gave evidence on oath. He told the Panel that he had complied with the Conditions imposed upon his practice and that as a result he has reflected and learnt from this. Now he is more aware of the importance of record keeping whereas in the past he did not have it at the forefront of his mind. He has changed his practice, and having done so he sees the benefit of completing records whilst the information is fresh – e.g. his records are more accurate and contain more detail, colleagues have up to date information.

7.             He took the Panel to the Personal Development Plan which focussed on record keeping and stated that he has been keeping to the plan. Furthermore, he has been taking online courses and also engaged in peer review to ensure that his record keeping is accurate and full. He told the Panel that he has also observed other health professionals, for example nurses, to ascertain if he could learn anything from the way they carried out their record keeping function. He now understands the maxim, ‘If it is not recorded, it did not happen’, and the ramification for patients and other health professions when records are not kept properly and up to date.

8.             He told the Panel that since May of last year he has seen over a hundred patients. He told the Panel that what he saw and heard is put in the records – his records would not be just about the results of the audiogram.

Decision:

9.             The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that its purpose today was to conduct a comprehensive appraisal of the Registrant to determine if he is fit to return to unrestricted practice. Its role is not to conduct a rehearing of the allegations nor is it to go behind the previous findings. He advised that in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgment.

10.           The Legal Assessor advised that the Panel might find the questions formulated in the case of CHRE v NMC and Grant (2011) EWHC 927 (Admin) of some assistance, albeit slightly modified for these proceedings:

‘Does the evidence before the Panel today show that the Registrant’s fitness to practice remains impaired in the sense that he:

a)             is liable in the future to act so as to put a service user at unwarranted risk of harm; and/or

b)             is liable in the future to bring the Hearing Aid Dispensing profession into disrepute; and/or

c)             is liable in the future to breach one of the fundamental tenets of the profession; and/or

11.           The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that if it determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired all the options under Article 30 of the 2001 Order could be exercised by the Panel. He advised the Panel that it should bear in mind the principle of fairness and proportionality and have regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy document issued by the HCPC. He reminded the Panel that any order that it makes under Article 30 should not be punitive in purpose, and that it should be the least restrictive order that would suffice to protect the public and/or is otherwise in the public interest.

12.           The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel took into consideration the oral testimony of the Registrant, all the documentation before it, and the submissions of both parties. In particular it noted the following factors:

a)             The reference from his line manager who confirmed the Registrant’s “commitment and compliance with his professional responsibilities and specifically in relation to his recent shortcomings with regard to record keeping.” He also goes on to comment, “It is my belief that Peter fully understands the importance of accurate record keeping as a hearing aid dispenser, as well as demonstrates good insight when I have worked with him on his reflective exercises. ... Peter has fully complied with all internal processes which would also support the conclusion that he has grasped the importance and skillset in managing one’s time as a busy professional giving excellent service to clients whilst maintaining full compliance in all record keeping activities.”

b)             The reflective statement and the reflective journal of the Registrant.

c)             The notes of the Supervisor Monthly Meetings

d)             The engagement of the Registrant with the process and his commitment to remaining in the profession.

e)             This is a case of misconduct and there is no suggestion that the Registrant lacked the requisite competence to carry out the role of a Hearing Aids Dispenser. Hence this is a case where the Registrant’s insight is of greater importance.

13.           Taking all of the above into consideration, the Panel determined that the Registrant has now demonstrated full insight and that the risk of repetition is negligible. At the previous review hearing the panel felt that he had not fully shown his insight, which this Panel determines he has now done. He has expressed remorse and has put his misconduct into context and accepted full responsibility.

14.           The Registrant has taken action to remediate his shortcomings and submitted evidence of the efforts made and the results of such efforts. Whilst sanctions are not to be punitive in nature, the Registrant has clearly learnt the lesson intended by the public component for the sanction being imposed at the original hearing.

15.           The Panel is therefore satisfied that the Registrant is not liable in future to put the public at risk of harm, nor is he liable in future to bring the profession into disrepute, nor is he liable to breach a fundamental tenet of the profession.

16.           The Panel is also satisfied that the public interest has been satisfied in that the Registrant has been held to account, that proper standards of practice and behaviour have been declared. The Panel determined that a member of the public who was fully informed of the above considerations, would countenance the Registrant’s return to practice to continue his service to the public.

17.           Therefore the Panel determines that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is not currently impaired.

 

18.           In light of the Panel’s determination, it is exercising its power to review the Order under Article 30(2) and 30(4) and revokes the Order with immediate effect.

Order

Order: The Order is revoked with immediate effect.

Notes

 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Peter T James

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
21/04/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing No further action