Mr David Raymond Minshull

Profession: Hearing aid dispenser

Registration Number: HAD00823

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 03/08/2016 End: 12:00 03/08/2016

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Conditions of Practice

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Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Hearing Aid Dispenser in February 2011 while employed by Regional Hearing Services, you:

 

1. Carried out a hearing assessment on Service User A and you:

 

a) Did not carry out and/or record a bone conduction assessment

 

2. On leaving your role with Regional Hearing Services, you used confidential Information gained during your employment with them and used it for your personal gain in that you sold Service User A a hearing aid on 15 April 2011.

3. After selling the hearing aid to Service User A you:

 

a) Did not provide her with a receipt for her purchase,

 

b) Did not make acceptable arrangements for follow up or aftercare,

 

c) Set the hearing aid for a new user and left it at that setting for 12 months without arranging for further adjustment.

 

4. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 and 3 a-c constitute misconduct and/or a lack of competence.

 

5. The matter set out in paragraphs 2 constitutes misconduct.

 

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

Finding

Background
 
1. Mr Minshull is registered with the HCPC as a Hearing Aid Dispenser and on 06 August 2013 he was made the subject of a one-year Suspension Order. That order was reviewed on 25 July 2014 when a one year Conditions of Practice Order was imposed. That later order was itself reviewed on 06 August 2015 when a further one year Conditions of Practice Order was imposed.

2. Notice of today’s hearing was sent to Mr Minshull by post on 29 June 2016.  He has not attended the hearing and, as at the commencement of the hearing, it appeared he had not responded in any way to these proceedings. The Panel is satisfied that the hearing notice has been properly served on the address which is the registered address of Mr Minshull for HCPC purposes.

3. The Panel had to decide whether or not to proceed in the absence of Mr Minshull and has taken into account the HCPC Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant”.  The Panel bears in mind that a decision to proceed in the absence of a registrant should be taken only after exercising the utmost care and caution.  The Panel takes into account there is a statutory obligation to hold a review hearing such as this within statutory time limits. There is no indication that if this hearing were to be adjourned that Mr Minshull would attend at any replacement hearing. It is in the public interest that allegations of this kind are properly progressed and reviewed.

4. The Panel concluded the proper step was to continue in the absence of Mr Minshull.  The Panel received representations on behalf of the HCPC and legal advice from the Legal Assessor. The Panel then retired to make its decision.

5. Whilst in retirement the Panel was informed by the Hearings Officer that it had just come to her notice that Mr Minshull had sent an email to the HCPC yesterday morning at 9.53. He stated:

“At the last hearing 12 month’s ago I had a job offer of a Hearing Aid   dispenser, following the hearing and the continuation of the conditions   to practice this was  retracted against the wishes of the sales director by   the rest of the board of directors who wished to distance themselves   from the hcpc. Since the original  suspension and subsequent conditions   imposed I have found it impossible to get a position with a hearing    aid company. I am currently unemployed and do not have the funds to  travel to the hearing in person so I will not be attending”.

6. The Panel decided that the information in the email did not alter the decision to proceed in the absence of Mr Minshull. In fact it reinforced that decision. 

7. The allegation which led to the original Suspension Order is set out above and the Panel has taken into account the Notice of Decision and Order issued by the Panel sitting in August 2013 together with the two subsequent Review Hearing Orders.

8. The original Panel sitting in 2013 found that:

(i)  there were potentially very serious consequences for service users in not  carrying out bone conduction tests and proper audiometry

(ii) there had been a serious breach of ethical standards

(iii) the actions of Mr Minshull could have left vulnerable service users unable  to access services and/or warranty provisions.

9. The Panel then sitting also took into account that Mr Minshull had not attended the proceedings and the Panel therefore had no information as to his level of understanding and insight as to his deficiencies in practice. A Suspension Order for one year was made.

10. Mr Minshull attended the review hearing in 2014 and expressed a hope that he could return to practice as a Hearing Aid Dispenser.  The Panel determined the correct future order was one of Conditions of Practice.

11. Mr Minshull attended the review hearing in 2015.  He told the Panel he had been unable to obtain employment as a Hearing Aid Dispenser.  The effect, therefore, was that the earlier conditions of practice had had no practical impact. Mr Minshull said he was currently being considered for a post as a Hearing Aid Dispenser with a likelihood that work would commence in the immediate future. He felt he would be capable of complying with the conditions of practice previously imposed.

12. The Panel sitting in 2015 considered that the misconduct and lack of competence found at the original hearing was capable of remediation but had not yet been remedied. The Panel accepted Mr Minshull had demonstrated remorse for his actions and had shown some insight. The Panel was satisfied that the fitness to practice of Mr Minshull remained impaired “and that it would not be appropriate to allow him to return to unrestricted practice until he has demonstrated remediation”. The Panel determined to impose a further Conditions of Practice Order.

13. On 03 March 2016 the HCPC wrote to Mr Minshull asking him to provide evidence demonstrating he had met the requirements of the conditions imposed in 2015. Mr Minshull did not respond to that letter.

14. This Panel therefore has little information from Mr Minshull as to:

(i)  his level of insight into his past failings

(ii) steps he has taken to remediate past failings and ensure they would not  be repeated upon any return to practice.

15. The Panel concluded that the fitness to practice of Mr Minshull remains impaired and in assessing what is the appropriate outcome has taken into account the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy. The purpose of sanctions is not to punish but is to ensure public safety. Additional purposes are to deter other health professionals from committing practice failings and to maintain confidence in the regulatory process.

Decision

16. The Panel has considered the available sanctions in ascending order and takes into account that any outcome must be proportionate to the background circumstances. It is not appropriate to make no order or to seek Mediation. Nor is it appropriate to make a Caution Order. The background circumstances are too serious and earlier Panels have determined that Conditions of Practice Orders and a Supervision Order were appropriate.

17. The Panel has considered a Conditions of Practice Order. It has previously been accepted that Mr Minshull has demonstrated some insight into past failings but there was no evidence of actions to remedy those past failings. It is accepted that Mr Minshull has taken steps to try to obtain replacement employment. But there is no evidence from Mr Minshull as to steps taken by him to develop his insight into past failings. That could have been by a reflective piece of work, professional training or personal research. Mr Minshull has not provided any information as to the extent to which he has fulfilled his continuing professional development requirements or has carried out other personal education programmes.

18. However, the Panel does take into account that Mr Minshull did fairly recently have a prospect of employment as a Hearing Aid Dispenser and does not at this stage see it as appropriate to bar Mr Minshull from such employment given the past acceptance by a Panel of some degree of thinking by Mr Minshull about his past failings. The Panel has decided that it is appropriate and proportionate to impose a further Conditions of Practice Order this time to run for 6 months.

19. The Panel did consider a Suspension Order but took the view that, at this stage, it would not be a proportionate order given there remains some prospect that Mr Minshull can, and will, demonstrate insight and remediation. The conditions will be slightly different this time because the Panel thinks it appropriate to make clear to Mr Minshull that he should not practise in an unsupervised environment. Therefore, he should not practise on a self-employed basis.

20. The order imposed today will be reviewed before it expires. This Panel cannot speak on behalf of any Panel that sits in the future. But it seems to this Panel that for Mr Minshull to have a real prospect of returning to work in unrestricted practice he will have to maintain continuing professional development, produce evidence of self-reflection, insight and remediation into his past failings and gain up to date practical experience as a Hearing Aid Dispenser. The Panel encourages Mr Minshull to attend any future review hearing.

Order

The Registrar is directed to extend the Conditions of Practice Order against the registration of Mr David Raymond Minshull for a further period of 6 months on the expiry of the existing order, you must comply with the following conditions of practice:

1. You must not work as a Hearing Aid Dispenser in a self-employed capacity and you should be employed only by an organisation of sufficient size which can offer professional supervision from an HCPC registered Hearing Aid Dispenser as well as refresher training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) support. 
 
2. You must inform the HCPC of the name and address of your employer at the time of taking up employment. 
 
3. You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of an HCPC registered workplace supervisor nominated by your employer and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within one month of commencing employment. You must attend upon that supervisor at least once a month and follow their advice and recommendations. 
 
4. You must, prior to taking up employment, inform your prospective employer that your registration is subject to these conditions of practice.
 
5. You must provide evidence of compliance with these conditions of practice. This should include: 
 
• A report from your supervisor confirming compliance and also reporting on your progress.

• You should provide evidence of regular CPD activities which you have undertaken. 

• Your CPD must not be focussed entirely on technology but should also include aspects of client management as well as wider aspects of adult audiology.

• Your CPD should also include a reflective account demonstrating insight into the incident with Service User A.

• Documentary evidence of all these matters, including your supervisor’s report should be provided to the HCPC not later than 14 days in advance of the next review hearing. 
 
6. You must promptly inform the HCPC if you cease to be employed by any future employer or take up any other or further employment. 
 
7. You must promptly inform the HCPC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against you by your employer. 

 

Notes

This Order will be reviewed before its expiry.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr David Raymond Minshull

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
02/02/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing No further action
03/08/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
06/08/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice