Laura Hutchinson

Profession: Occupational therapist

Registration Number: OT59763

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 26/08/2016 End: 16:00 26/08/2016

Location: Radisson Blu Hotel Belfast, The Gasworks, 3 Cromac Pl, Belfast, BT7 2JB

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

While employed as an Occupational Therapist at Western Health and Social Care Trust:

1. Between approximately 5-12 September 2012 in relation to Patient D:

a. you did not complete an initial assessment in a timely manner, and:

i. you did not identify issues at the pre-operative stage

ii. you did not identify appropriate pressure relief.

2. On or around 25 September 2012, you did not follow appropriate hygiene practises before conducting a pre-op assessment in relation to:

a. Patient A

b. Patient B

3. On or around 15 January 2015 in relation to Patient C, you displayed poor clinical reasoning skills, when:

a. you did not identify concerns with Patient C's transfer

b. you did not amend the treatment session accordingly, and:

c. you did not ensure Patients C's safety in using a wheelchair with no footplates

4. Between approximately 23 January-17 February 2015, in relation to Patient E:

a. you did not complete an adequate risk assessment for Patient E's discharge;

b. you did not ensure Patient E received equipment in a timely manner after

discharge

5. The matters as described at paragraphs1-4 amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence.

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

Finding

Background:

1. Miss Hutchinson is registered with the HCPC as an Occupational Therapist. The Panel has been asked by the HCPC and by Miss Hutchinson to dispose of the above Allegation by consent. The proposed disposal is by a Voluntary Removal Agreement.

2. Miss Hutchinson has not attended the hearing but the Panel is satisfied that notice of the hearing has been served on her. Copies were sent to her both by post and email on 13 July 2016. The Panel has taken into account the HCPC Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and is satisfied that Miss Hutchinson is aware of the hearing and has chosen not to attend. A Panel should proceed in the absence of a Registrant only with the utmost care and caution.

3. Miss Hutchinson has been in contact with the HCPC prior to this hearing regarding a disposal on the basis of a Voluntary Removal Agreement. It is clear that she agrees to such a step. The Panel noted her email to the HCPC dated 4 July 2016, where she states “I do not wish to attend the hearing”. There is no indication that if this matter were to be adjourned that Miss Hutchinson would attend on a later date. It is in the public interest that allegations such as these proceed with reasonable expedition. The Panel takes into account the Voluntary Removal Agreement signed by Miss Hutchinson on 25 July 2016 and is satisfied it is appropriate to proceed in the absence of Miss Hutchinson.

4. The Panel has considered the HCPC Practice Note “Disposal of Cases by Consent” (“the Practice Note”). A case should be dealt with by consent only where a panel is satisfied that:

(i) the appropriate level of public protection is being secured; and
(ii) to deal with the case by consent would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.

5. It is not usually possible in law for a Registrant to resign from the Register if the Registrant is the subject of an allegation. However, in cases where the HCPC is satisfied that it would be adequately protecting the public if the Registrant were permitted to resign from the Register, it may enter into a Voluntary Removal Agreement allowing the Registrant to do so. The Practice Note makes the point that a Voluntary Removal Agreement creates terms and restrictions similar to those that apply where a Registrant has been Struck Off.

6. In the proposed Voluntary Removal Agreement Miss Hutchinson admits the allegation and asks to be removed from the Register.

Decision:

7. The Panel has considered all of the material in the bundle provided and Miss Hutchinson is given credit for admitting the Allegation.  The Panel is satisfied that a Voluntary Removal Agreement would provide appropriate public protection.

8. The Panel is satisfied that voluntary removal is not disproportionate because the Allegation is serious and Miss Hutchinson does not intend to practise as an Occupational Therapist. Therefore, this is not a case where a lesser order than strike off or removal from the Register, would be appropriate on the ground that it might facilitate a return to practice. 

9. In all the circumstances the Panel has concluded that the proposed Voluntary Removal Agreement is not disproportionate and agrees that to be an appropriate form of disposal of these proceedings.

10. Although the Panel gives approval to the proposed agreement it does comment on paragraph 3.2.3 of that document which provides that Miss Hutchinson agrees:

  “not at any time on or after the Operative Date seek re-admission to the Register”.

11. As is noted above the Practice Note states that the effect of a Voluntary Removal Agreement is to create terms and restrictions similar to those that apply where a Registrant has been struck off. A Registrant who is struck off does have the right after 5 years to apply for restoration to the register. So the provision in 3.2.3 which indicates an open ended duration of removal is not consistent with the provisions which permit restoration.  To that extent the effect of paragraph 3.2.3 is not “similar” to strike off. The Panel notes that if the Registrant were to apply for restoration after more than 5 years, the HCPC would need to consider that application on its merits at that time.

Order

Order:
The Registrar is directed to remove the name of Miss Laura Hutchinson from the Register with immediate effect.

Notes

 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Laura Hutchinson

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
26/08/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed