Mr Andrew Daniel Brown

Profession: Physiotherapist

Registration Number: PH70229

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 12:30 31/08/2016 End: 16:00 31/08/2016

Location: Health and Care Professions Council, 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

(as found proved at the final hearing):

During the course of your employment as a Physiotherapist with the William Merritt Centre between 14 April 2011 to 18 September 2012:

1. You did not complete driving assessments within the expected timeframe of 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

2. You spoke to colleagues in a rude and aggressive manner.

3. The matters described in paragraph 1 and 2 constituted misconduct.

4. By reason of that misconduct your fitness to practise was impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters:


Service:


1. The Panel was satisfied on the documentary evidence provided that the Registrant, Mr Andrew Daniel Brown, had been given proper notice of this review hearing in accordance with the Rules. Notice of this hearing was sent by first class post on 28 July 2016 to his address on the Register by letter dated 28 July 2016. The notice contained the relevant required particulars.


Proceeding in Absence:


2. The Panel heard an application by Ms Carson to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.

3. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who advised that the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant was one that must be exercised with the utmost care and caution, balancing the right of the Registrant to attend with the public interest in dealing with proceedings expeditiously.

4. Having considered the circumstances the Panel determined 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 not contacted the HCPC since his letter of 9 February 2016 indicating he would not attend the last review hearing.


· The Registrant has not requested an adjournment, nor has the Panel any reason to believe that an adjournment would result in his future attendance.

· There is a public interest in proceeding expeditiously and the present review is mandatory.

· In all the circumstances the Panel was of the view that the Registrant has chosen not to attend.


Background:


5. The Registrant is a qualified Physiotherapist. He worked for the William Merrit Disabled Living Centre (WMDLC) in Leeds from 2009 until his resignation in April 2014. He worked in the Medical Fitness to Drive Assessments Team as a Band 6 Driver Assessor.

6. The role of a Driver Assessor is to assess the impact of a medical condition on a person's ability to operate a car safely.

7. The Registrant at the Final Hearing on 4 March 2015 faced a number of issues regarding his clinical skills, as well as his attitude towards and interaction with work colleagues. The evidence was that the Registrant was often seen to be rude and aggressive to his colleagues, and one colleague had found his attitude to be threatening towards her.

8. The original Panel found misconduct in relation only to this Particular: speaking to colleagues in a rude and aggressive manner.

9. The original Panel found that the Registrant's fitness to practise was impaired on the grounds of misconduct for the following reasons:


'There was not evidence before the Panel of any evidence of remediation, nor of engagement by Mr Brown or insight into his shortcomings. The Panel did not find that there were any issues regarding the safety of service users. However, it was satisfied that there was a need to uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour in the physiotherapist profession and that an informed member of the public would expect there to be a finding of impairment in respect of the misconduct found in this case'.


10. That Panel then considered what sanction or outcome was appropriate. That Panel decided to impose a Suspension Order for 12 months saying it was:


...to mark the nature and gravity of the case and is sufficient to maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process'.


Decision:


11. This is the second mandatory review of a Suspension Order of 12 months, which was originally imposed at the final hearing on 4 March 2014, to come into effect 28 days later.

12. This Panel is reviewing the Suspension Order pursuant to Article 30(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 (consolidated text).

13. The Panel considered the submissions of Ms Carson, on behalf of the HCPC, who submitted that the Registrant remains impaired. She said that the Registrant had written to the HCPC on 9 February 2016 expressing a wish to voluntarily remove himself from the Register. The Panel reviewing the suspension order in March 2016 had extended the Registrant’s period of suspension in part to allow him time to explore voluntary removal.  However, he had not engaged in that process, nor had he demonstrated any engagement with the HCPC or provided evidence of remediation.  She submitted that there was no point in further suspension and the Panel should make a striking off order.

14. The Panel considered the written material supplied by the Registrant in February 2016 indicating that he would seek voluntary erasure.  There was no evidence of what the Registrant had done since the last hearing.

15. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

16. The Panel was of the view that by reason of his non engagement, the Registrant had not provided information to demonstrate that he had gained insight into his misconduct in relation to his rude and aggressive interactions with his work colleagues. Although he had provided some information regarding his health before the hearing on 1 March, the Panel was of the view that this did not address the question of his insight.  Nor had he provided any current information.

17. The Registrant had also not provided any information to demonstrate to the Panel that he had remediated his behaviour towards colleagues. In those circumstances, the Panel could not be reassured that he would not behave in a similar way in the future.

18. The Registrant had not engaged with the HCPC in respect of the Final hearing in March 2015 or the hearing on 1 March 2016. Nor had he taken the opportunity to pursue voluntary removal from the Register, as he indicated he would before the hearing in March 2016.The Registrant had now been out of practice for sometime, and in all the circumstances, the Panel concluded that his fitness to practise remains currently impaired.

19. Having concluded that the Registrant's current fitness to practise remained impaired, the Panel went on to consider what would be the appropriate, proportionate and sufficient sanction, or other outcome in this case, in order to protect the public and also meet the public interest.

20. The Panel had regard to the provisions of Article 30 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 and the Indicative Sanctions Policy and considered the sanctions in ascending order of severity. The Panel was aware that the purpose of a sanction is not to be punitive but to protect members of the public and to safeguard the public interest, which includes upholding standards within the profession, together with maintaining public confidence in the profession and its regulatory process.

21. The Panel decided that there was no longer any real prospect that the Registrant would engage with the regulatory process.  Accordingly a further period of suspension would serve no useful purpose.  The Registrant had demonstrated that he would not engage with the HCPC to remediate his misconduct so that the likelihood of repetition remained high.

22. Accordingly the Panel decided that a Striking Off Order was a proportionate sanction and the only one sufficient to protect the public interest and maintain public confidence in the professional standards and the regulatory process.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Andrew Daniel Brown from the Register with immediate effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Andrew Daniel Brown

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
31/08/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
01/03/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended