Miss Wilma Szwajcar

Profession: Occupational therapist

Registration Number: OT44166

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 15/08/2016 End: 16:00 18/08/2016

Location: Novotel Edinburgh Centre, 80 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9DE

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

During your employment as an Occupational Therapist for NHS Lothian you:

 

1. Did not complete adequate Initial Assessments in that you:

 

a) Did not adequately explore and/or assess the mental health of the patient concerned as part of your Initial Assessment, including in relation to:

i. Patient A;

ii. Patient B;

iii. Patient D;

iv. Patient F;

v. Patient V;

vi. Patient L;

 

b) Did not complete all relevant sections of the Initial Assessment form, including in relation to:

i Patient J;

ii. Patient K;

iii. Patient L;

iv. Patient D;

v. Patient F;

vi. Patient A;

vii. Patient B;

viii. Patient V;

 

2. Did not complete adequate treatment plans in that you:

 

a) Did not include appropriate goals and/or interventions relating to the mental health of the patient concerned, including in relation to:

i. Patient D;

ii. Patient V;

iii. Patient F;

 

b) Suggested treatment for anxiety management without ascertaining whether symptoms of anxiety were present, (including) in relation to Patient M;

 

c) Were unable to devise appropriate treatment activities without prompting, including in relation to:

i. Patient V;

ii. Patient Q;

iii. Patient R;

iv. Patient T;

v. Patient J;

 

3. Delegated inappropriate tasks to an OT Clinical Support Worker in that you asked the OT Clinical Support Worker to undertake desensitisation work despite anxiety not being identified or documented in the initial assessment.

 

4. The matters as described in paragraphs 1 - 3 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

 

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

Finding

Preliminary matters

Proof of Service

1.     The Panel was provided with a signed certificate as proof that the Notice of Hearing had been sent in a letter, dated 20 April 2016, by First Class post, to the address shown for the Registrant on the HCPC register.  The Panel was satisfied that Notice had been properly served in accordance with Rule 3 (Proof of Service) and Rule 6 (date, time and venue) of the Conduct & Competence Committee Rules 2003 (as amended).

 

Proceeding in Absence

2.     Having determined that service of the Notice of Hearing had been properly effected, the Panel went on to consider whether to proceed in the Registrant’s absence, as permitted by Rule 11 of the Conduct & Competence Rules 2003 (as amended). The Panel was advised by the Legal Assessor and followed that advice. The Panel also took into account the guidance as set out in the HCPC Practice Note “Proceeding in Absence”.

 

3.    The Panel determined that it was reasonable and in the public interest to proceed with the hearing for the following reasons:

 

a)     The Registrant was clearly aware of the hearing, as confirmed by her letter dated 27 July 2016 and her email dated 11 August 2016. In the July letter the Registrant confirmed that she would not be attending the hearing and in her August email she stated that the hearing should proceed in her absence. Therefore, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s non-attendance was voluntary and a deliberate waiver of her right to attend.

 

b)     The Registrant did not made an application to adjourn and there was no indication, that even if the case were to be adjourned, that she would attend on any future date.

 

c)     It was in the interests of the two HCPC witnesses, who attended to give evidence and that their evidence was heard as soon as possible as the matters date back to 2010-2014.

 

d)     It was in the public interest that this Final Hearing commences and proceeds expeditiously.

 

Private Hearing

 

4.     Having heard submissions from Ms Partos, on behalf of the HCPC, the Panel determined that any evidence relating to the Registrant’s health should be heard in private to protect her private life.

 

Background

5.     The Registrant was employed by NHS Lothian, as a Band 5 Occupational Therapist within the Occupational Therapy Adult Mental Health Service at St John’s Hospital. The Registrant worked on a 12 bed inpatient ward. On 12 December 2014, the HCPC received a referral from NHS Lothian. The referral advised that the Registrant had been through a formal and informal capability process due to concerns being raised about her competency. The concerns raised related to some of the core skills of the Band 5 role, including assessment, treatment and communication. 

Assessment of Witnesses

6.     The Panel heard oral evidence from two HCPC witnesses.

Witness 1 – Occupational Therapy Manager, NHS Lothian

7.     Witness 1 was a credible and reliable witness. She had occasionally met with the Registrant from about 2012 onwards to provide additional support to improve the Registrant’s clinical skills.  The Panel had no reason to doubt that Witness 1’s evidence was her honest recollection of the events that took place between 2010-2014. Witness 1 made positive comments, where appropriate, and the Panel was satisfied that the help she offered the Registrant was genuine.

Witness 2 – Band 6 Occupational Therapist, NHS Lothian

8.     Witness 2 was a credible and reliable witness. She was the Registrant’s supervisor from 2009 onwards. Having identified concerns surrounding the Registrant’s competence and capability in 2010, she provided the Panel with a clear and consistent account of the various interventions, support and efforts she made to improve the Registrant’s skills. The Panel accepted Witness 2’s evidence. Witness 2 also made positive comments, where appropriate, and the Panel was satisfied that the help she offered the Registrant was genuine.

Decision on facts

Panel’s Approach

9.     The Panel was aware that the burden of proving the facts was on the HCPC and that the individual particulars of the Allegation could only be found proved, if the Panel was satisfied, on the balance of probabilities. The Registrant, present or absent, did not have to prove anything.

10.   In reaching its decision the Panel took into account all of the documentary evidence including the correspondence from the Registrant. The Panel also took into account the oral evidence of the HCPC witnesses and the submissions of Ms Partos, on behalf of the HCPC.

11.   The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

Decision

12.   The stem of the Allegation alleges ‘During your employment as an Occupational Therapist for NHS Lothian you…’ and goes on in particulars 1, 2 and 3 to set out the alleged inadequate Initial Assessments and  treatment plans in relation to various patients and an inappropriate delegation.

 

13.   The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness 1 and Witness 2 that the Initial Assessment form should be completed in full as part of the Initial Assessment of patients. The Panel also accepted the evidence of Witness 1 that where a section has not been completed it should state ‘not assessed’ or ‘not able to complete’ or words to that effect and should not simply be left blank. The Panel noted that on the Initial Assessment form of patient V, the Registrant in the ‘motor skills’ section wrote  ‘not formally assessed’ so she had used such wording on one of the forms. Witness 1, in her evidence, informed the Panel that this type of wording should have been recorded on all parts of the forms which were not completed.

 

Particular 1 (a) – Found Proved (in its entirety)

 

14.   It was alleged that the Registrant ‘Did not adequately explore and/or assess the mental health of the patient concerned as part of [her] Initial Assessment, including in relation to:..’

 

i.              Patient A

 

15.   The Panel noted that that in the assessment form for this patient the depression scale was not completed. Various other sections of the form were also left blank including ‘current functional status’, ‘patterns of occupation’, ‘habits’ and ‘motivation’.

 

16.   The Panel was satisfied that the incomplete form was evidence of an inadequate assessment or exploration of the patient’s mental health by the Registrant.

 

ii.             Patient B

 

17.   The Panel noted that the depression scale was only partially completed in the assessment form for this patient. The assessment record refers to anxiety but no detail is provided. The Panel also noted that the sections on ‘habits’ and ‘motivation’ were left blank.

 

18.   The Panel was satisfied that the incomplete form was evidence of an inadequate assessment or exploration of the patient’s mental health by the Registrant.

 

iii.            Patient D

 

19.   The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness 2, that the Registrant did not initially complete the ‘Cognition and perception’ section of the assessment form for this patient. It was raised with the Registrant during a supervision session on 17 January 2014 and subsequently completed. The Panel noted that despite the patient indicating that his life felt empty, this was not explored by the Registrant. The assessment form completed by the Registrant, made reference to her own view of the mental health of the patient, but there was no evidence of the patient’s view. This was also raised during the supervision session on 17 January 2014. The Panel also noted that the sections ‘DADL’ and ‘productivity’ were left blank.

 

20.   The Panel was satisfied that incomplete form was evidence of an inadequate assessment or exploration of the patient’s mental health by the Registrant.

 

iv.            Patient F

 

21.   The Panel noted that the Registrant did not complete the ‘Cognition and perception’ section of the Initial Assessment form and large parts of the section on ‘functional status’ were also left uncompleted. Similarly, the ‘habits’ and ‘motivation’ sections were left blank. These omissions were discussed during Witness 2’s supervision session with the Registrant in January 2014. The Panel noted that the Registrant had plenty of time between November 2013 and January 2014 to revisit the assessment and complete it adequately but did not do so.

22.   The Panel was satisfied that incomplete form was evidence of an inadequate assessment or exploration of the patient’s mental health by the Registrant.

 

v.             Patient V

 

23.   The Panel noted that the Registrant did not complete the ‘Cognition and perception’ section of the Initial Assessment form. The Registrant referred to the patient appearing ‘flat in mood’ but there was no further exploration. During supervision with Witness 2 on 9 May 2014, the Registrant concluded that she could not engage with this patient after only one interaction without trying. In addition, the Registrant scored the patient as ‘zero’ on the depression scale which indicates ‘not depressed’, but recorded that the patient was ‘having negative thoughts which he cannot stop’. The Panel noted the significant disconnect between score and the commentary which should have been explored further.

 

24.   The Panel was satisfied that the incomplete form was evidence of an inadequate assessment or exploration of the patient’s mental health by the Registrant.

 

vi.            Patient L

 

25.   The Panel noted that the Registrant did not complete the ‘Cognition and perception’ section of the Initial Assessment form. The patient’s reported feelings of anxiety was not explored and despite a score of 4 on the depression scale, there was no explanation or exploration of that score.

 

26.   The Panel was satisfied that incomplete form was evidence of an inadequate assessment or exploration of the patient’s mental health by the Registrant.

 

Particular 1 (b) – Found Proved (in its entirety)

 

27.   It was alleged that the Registrant ‘Did not complete all relevant sections of the Initial Assessment form, including in relation to:..’. The Panel noted a pattern of particular sections on the Initial Assessment form not being completed by the Registrant. For example, the ‘Cognition and perception’, ‘habits’ and ‘motivation’ sections were frequently left uncompleted.

 

i Patient J

 

28.   The ‘Cognition and perception’, ‘habits’ and ‘motivation’ sections were not completed.

 

ii. Patient K

 

29.   The ‘Patterns of Occupation’ and ‘habits’ sections were not completed.

 

iii. Patient L

 

30.   The ‘Cognition and perception’, ‘habits’ and ‘motivation’ sections were not completed. The latter two sections of the form were later completed after supervision with Witness 2.  

 

iv. Patient D

 

31.   The ‘Cognition and perception’, ‘habits’ and ‘motivation’ sections were initially left blank but were completed later after supervision with Witness 2.

 

v. Patient F

 

32.   The ‘Cognition and perception’, ‘habits’ and ‘motivation’ sections were not completed. Most parts of the ‘functional status’ section were also left uncompleted.

 

vi. Patient A

 

33.   The ‘Cognition and perception’, ‘Patterns of Occupation’, ‘habits’ and ‘motivation’ sections were not completed. Whilst the summary mentioned ‘no interest or motivation’ these were not recorded in the relevant section of the form and there was no explanation as to how the Registrant reached this conclusion.

 

vii. Patient B

 

34.   The ‘past medical history’, ‘habits’ and ‘motivation’ sections were not completed.

 

viii. Patient V

 

35.   The ‘Cognition and perception’ section was not completed. The ‘functional status’ section was also left uncompleted.

 

 

Particular 2(a) – Found Proved (in its entirety)

 

36.   It was alleged that in the treatment plans the Registrant ‘Did not include appropriate goals and/or interventions relating to the mental health of the patient concerned, including in relation to:’

 

i.              Patient D

 

37.   The Panel noted that the Registrant did not record any goals in the treatment plan relevant to the patient’s mental health; the goals recorded all related to physical activities.  There was also a disconnect between the Registrant’s assessment and the plan that was set. For example, having made an assessment that the patient was in a state of ‘confusion at times’, in the plan the Registrant refers to kitchen assessments and a referral to the Home Safety Service.

 

38.   The Panel concluded that the goals set were not appropriate.

 

ii.             Patient V

 

39.   The Panel recognised that it is acceptable to record one goal for the patient, if appropriate. However, the goal/plan for this patient was set on 6 May 2014 and was reviewed several times over a few weeks in June and July 2014. The Registrant did not update the plan during this period.

 

40.   The Panel concluded that the goal set was vague as it did not establish any meaningful activity for the patient. It was therefore inappropriate and remained so due to the Registrant’s failure to update it.

 

iii.            Patient F

 

41.   The goals/plan set for this patient by the Registrant relate to physical health only; there are no mental health goals. The Registrant’s note: ‘Liaise with social work department’, was not a plan setting out the work she was doing with the patient, but more an action note for the Registrant herself.

 

42.   The Panel concluded that the goals/plan set were not appropriate.

 

 Particular 2(b) – Found Proved

 

43.   It was alleged that in the treatment plans the Registrant ‘Suggested treatment for anxiety management without ascertaining whether symptoms of anxiety were present, (including) in relation to Patient M;’

 

44.   In her supervision note, dated 3 October 2014, Witness 1 recorded that the patient had mentioned ‘anxiety’. Witness 1 asked the Registrant what symptoms of anxiety were present. The Registrant was unsure even though she had suggested she would do anxiety management work with the patient. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness 1, that if there were no clinical symptoms of anxiety, anxiety management is not an appropriate treatment.

 

45.   The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had not ascertained whether anxiety was present before suggesting treatment for it.

 

Particular 2(c) – Found Proved (in its entirety)

 

46.   It was alleged that in the treatment plans the Registrant ‘[was] unable to devise appropriate treatment activities without prompting, including in relation to:

 

i.              Patient V

 

47.   The Panel noted that the Registrant’s activity plan was vague. In the supervision session with Witness 2, on 9 May 2014,  the Registrant was encouraged to establish, which activities the patient would find meaningful.

 

48.   The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant was unable to put together activities for the patient without prompting from her supervisor.

 

ii.             Patient Q

 

49.   The Panel noted that the Registrant, in her supervision session with Witness 2, on 23 May 2014, stated that the patient had no real interests. However, the assessment form that Witness 1 completed recorded various interests. The Registrant had shadowed Witness 1, but she had not been able to identify any activities relating to these interests and had to be prompted.

 

50.   The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant was unable to put together activities for the patient without prompting from her supervisor.

 

iii.            Patient R

 

51.   The patient was admitted with a diagnosis of mania. During the Registrant’s supervision session with Witness 2, on 13 June 2014, she was unable to identify appropriate activities for this patient.

52.   The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant was unable to put together activities for the patient without prompting from her supervisor.

 

iv.             Patient T

 

53.   The patient was suffering from confusion. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness 2, that the Registrant’s suggested use of guided self-help was not appropriate for this patient, in light of his symptoms.

 

54.   The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant was unable to put together activities for the patient without prompting from her supervisor.

 

v.             Patient J

 

55.   The Panel noted that the Registrant, during her supervision session with Witness 2, on 29 November 2013, stated that she had thought about activities for this patient but did not think that the patient would engage. The Panel accepted Witness 2’s evidence that the Registrant should have tried some activities before reaching such a conclusion. The Registrant also found it difficult to identify activities to help improve the patient’s mood.

 

56.   The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant was unable to put together activities for the patient without prompting from her supervisor.

 

 

Particular 3 – Found Not Proved

 

57.   It was alleged that the Registrant ‘Delegated inappropriate tasks to an OT Clinical Support Worker in that you asked the OT Clinical Support Worker to undertake desensitisation work despite anxiety not being identified or documented in the initial assessment.’

 

58.   The Panel noted that at the outset of the hearing, Ms Partos, on behalf of the HCPC, confirmed that although the particular refers to ‘tasks’ there was only one task. The allegation relied on the evidence of Witness 3, in particular her conversations with an OT Clinical Support Worker with regards to discussions between the OT Clinical Support Worker and the Registrant.  This was hearsay evidence and there was no other supporting evidence. The Panel noted that no date was given for the supervision session with OT Clinical Support Worker and no contemporaneous notes of the supervision session referred to.

59.   Furthermore, whilst Witness 3 did speak to the Registrant, on an unknown date, about the incident, her statement did not say anything about asking the Registrant if she had delegated a desensitisation task to the OT Clinical Support Worker.

60.   There was no evidence before the Panel, apart from the hearsay evidence, that the Registrant delegated an inappropriate task to an OT Clinical Support Worker. The Panel gave the hearsay evidence limited weight and therefore concluded that there was insufficient evidence to find this particular proved.

Decision on grounds

Panel’s Approach

61.   Having found particulars 1(a), 1(b), 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c) proved, the Panel went on to consider whether the Registrant’s conduct amounted to misconduct and/or lack of competence. At this stage, in view of its finding that Particular 3 was not proved, it did not form part of the Panel’s consideration.

62.   The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

Decision on Lack of Competence

63.   The Registrant’s performance covered numerous patients over a long period of time and despite significant support, there was a pattern of the same issues being repeated.  The Registrant’s performance did not meet the foundation level for a Band 5 Occupational Therapist, save for a short period in 2009.

64.   Witness 1 stated that the Registrant did not seem to understand and struggled to appreciate what she was being asked to do. Witness 2 informed the Panel that the Registrant’s health had not initially been raised as an explanation for her performance, but was raised later. The Panel was mindful of the Registrant’s health but noted that this was not the initial trigger for her inadequate performance but appeared to have been an exacerbating factor.

65.   The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s acts and omissions represented a fair sample of her work, over a significant period of time and amounts to lack of competence. The Panel was not satisfied that the Registrant was capable of sustaining the standard required of a Band 5 Occupational Therapist.

Decision on Misconduct

66.   The Panel concluded that that facts found proved did not amount to misconduct. Whilst the Registrant’s performance was inadequate, the Panel was satisfied this was not due to any deliberate conduct or intent on her part.

Decision on impairment     

Panel’s Approach

67.   Having found lack of competence in relation to Particulars 1(a), 1(b), 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c), the Panel went on to consider whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel took into account the HCPC Practice Note: “Finding that Fitness to Practise is Impaired.  

68.   In determining current impairment the Panel had regard to the following aspects of the public interest:

 

·          The ‘personal’ component: the current competence, behaviour etc. of the individual registrant; and

 

·          The ‘public’ component: the need to protect service users, declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and maintain public confidence in the profession.

 

69.   The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

Decision

70.   The Panel considered the Registrant’s current fitness to practise firstly from the personal perspective and then from the wider public perspective.

71.   The Panel noted that the Registrant required substantial support to prevent patients coming to harm. The Registrant’s lack of competence had the potential to place patients at risk of harm, however, the regular weekly supervision sessions were effective in reducing the risk. The Registrant’s email, dated 11 August 2016, demonstrates some insight into her shortcomings, but this was limited and as there is no evidence of remediation, the Panel concluded that the risk of repetition is high. During a four year period the Registrant, despite extensive ongoing support throughout, was unable to meet the standard of competence required of a Band 5 Occupational Therapist. In the absence of any evidence of remediation, the Panel concluded that the risk to patients is an ongoing risk. There is no evidence before the Panel that the Registrant has reflected on the impact of her shortcomings on colleagues and patients.

72.   The Panel concluded that for these reasons the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired based on the personal component.

73.   In considering the public component the Panel had regard to the critically important public policy issues which include the need to maintain confidence in the profession and declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.

74.   The Panel considered the HCPC Standards of Proficiency – Occupational Therapists and the Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics. The Panel took the view that the Registrant’s actions breached numerous standards of proficiency and standards 1, 5, 7 and 10 of the Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics, which state:

1 -“You must act in the best interests of service users.”

5 -“You must keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date.”

7 -“You must communicate properly and effectively with service users

and other practitioners.”.

10 -“You must keep accurate records.”  

75.   The public would expect a regulatory body to address performance, which falls far below the standards expected of a registered practitioner to be reflected in a finding of impairment. The Panel takes the view that the Registrant poses a risk to patients, has brought the profession into disrepute and has breached fundamental tenets of the profession. There is a risk that all of these features are likely to be repeated in the future. In all the circumstances, the Panel also determined that on the basis of the ‘public component’ a finding of current impairment was necessary to protect public confidence in the profession and declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour. 

76.   In conclusion, the Panel found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired and therefore the HCPC case is well-founded.

Decision on sanction

Panel’s Approach

77.   The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was mindful that the purpose of any sanction is not to punish the Registrant, but to protect the public and the wider public interest. The public interest includes maintaining public confidence in the profession and the HCPC as its regulator and upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour. The Panel applied the principle of proportionality by weighing the Registrant’s interests with the public interest and by considering each available sanction in ascending order of severity.

 

78.   The Panel had regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy (ISP) and took into account the submissions made by Ms Partos, on behalf of the HCPC.

 

79.   The Panel identified the following aggravating factors:

 

·          The Registrant’s failings were wide ranging and related to the core skills of an Occupational Therapist;

·          The shortcomings were not isolated; they occurred over a long period of time in relation  to a significant number of patients;

·          Despite extensive and continuous support for four years the Registrant was unable to meet or sustain the standard expected of a Band 5 Occupational Therapist;

·          There was no evidence of remediation and little reflection;

·          The Registrant demonstrated limited insight.

 

80.   The Registrant provided some mitigation in her email dated 11 August 2016, with regards to her health and referred to ‘other major issues’ going on in her life.  The Panel took these factors into account as well as the following:

 

·          The Registrant had apologised for what had happened;

·          The Registrant’s health problems clearly exacerbated her ability to cope;

·          Both Witness 1 and Witness 2 informed the Panel that the Registrant demonstrated a willingness to meet the required standards and had good relationships with colleagues;

·          The Registrant accepted the various offers of support to help her achieve the competencies and appeared to have tried to achieve them.

 

Panel’s Decision

 

81.   The Panel first considered taking no action. The Panel concluded that, in view of the nature and seriousness of the Registrant’s repeated failure to meet the required standard and in the absence of exceptional circumstances, to take no action on her registration would be wholly inappropriate. Furthermore it would be insufficient to protect the public, maintain public confidence and uphold the reputation of the profession.

 

82.   The Panel then considered a Caution Order.  The Panel noted paragraph 22 of the ISP which states:

A caution order is an appropriate sanction for cases, where the lapse is isolated, limited or relatively minor in nature, there is a low risk of recurrence, the registrant has shown insight and taken appropriate action.  A caution order should also be considered in cases where the nature of the allegation means that meaningful practice restrictions cannot be imposed but where the registrant has shown insight, the conduct concerned is out of character, the risk of repetition is low and thus suspension from practice would be disproportionate.  A caution order is unlikely to be appropriate in cases where the registrant lacks insight.”

 

83.   In view of the Panel’s findings that this was not an isolated incident, the Registrant has demonstrated limited insight into her lack of competence and has provided no evidence of remediation, the risk of repetition is high. The Panel concluded that a Caution Order would be inappropriate and insufficient to meet the public interest.

 

84.   The Panel went on to consider a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel noted that the ISP states:

 

conditions of practice are unlikely to be suitable in situations where problems cannot be overcome, such as serious overall failings, lack of insight…”.

 

85.   Although, the Registrant’s failings are capable of being remediated, she has consistently shown over a long period of time, that despite substantial support and supervision, she has been unable to remedy the deficiencies in her practise. As the Registrant has not attended the hearing the Panel could have no confidence that she would be willing or able to comply with conditions, even if appropriate conditions could be formulated. There is also no information before the Panel with regards to her current employment status. The Panel concluded that any conditions imposed on the Registrant would have to be so restrictive, given her consistent inability to meet the required standard despite substantial support, that they would be tantamount to suspension. In these circumstances, the Panel was unable to formulate conditions, which would be appropriate, realistic and verifiable.

 

86.   Having determined that a Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate, the Panel determined that a Suspension Order should be imposed. The Panel was satisfied that a Suspension Order would prevent the Registrant from practising during the suspension period, which would therefore protect the public and maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process. At the same time, a Suspension Order would provide the Registrant with the opportunity to develop the insight which is essential if she is to return to practise, should she wish to do so and an opportunity to demonstrate a willingness to remediate her shortcomings.

 

87.   The Panel determined that the Suspension Order should be imposed for a period of 12 months. The Panel was satisfied that this period would be sufficient time for the Registrant to demonstrate an appropriate level of insight into her failings and take steps to begin the process of remediation.

 

88.   The Panel decided that the appropriate and proportionate order is a Suspension Order.

 

89.   This Order will be reviewed shortly before expiry. A future reviewing panel is likely to be assisted by the following:

 

·          Evidence that the Registrant has kept her clinical skills and knowledge up to date;

·          Reflections on her practise in relation to the facts and issues found proved;

·          Reflections on how she intends to remediate and achieve the necessary competencies;

·          Any up to date relevant medical evidence.

 

 

Order

ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Wilma Szwajacar for a period of 12 months from the date this order comes into effect.

 

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from 14 September 2016 (the operative date)

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 14 September 2017.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Miss Wilma Szwajcar

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
07/08/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
16/08/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
15/08/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended