Mr Kevin Darin Adams

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA15763

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 15/08/2016 End: 12:00 15/08/2016

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

Allegation:  (as found at the substantive hearing on 29 August 2012)

 

During the course of your employment as a Paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust:

1. Between 19 October 2010 and 04 May 2011, you:

(a) Continued practising as a Paramedic although your registration with the Health Professions Council had lapsed;

(b) Not proved.

2. Following a disciplinary hearing on 24 June 2011, you did not complete an adequate reflective practice exercise regarding your actions, as set out in paragraph 1.

3. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 – 2 constitute misconduct.

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

Finding

Preliminary Matters:
Service:
1. The Notice of today’s hearing was sent to the Registrant at his address in the register on 20 July 2016 by first class post and by email. The Panel note that the notice given is 26 days. It has noted that the Review Hearing had originally been scheduled for 20 July 2016 and notice had been sent on 16 June 2016.  Due to lack of panel member availability that Review was rescheduled for 15 August 2016 and notice of the hearing today had been given to the Registrant on 20 July 2016. The Panel note that the Registrant had, on 19 July 2016, told the HCPC in an email that he would not be attending the 20 July hearing. 
2. The Notice contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing.  The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”) require that a Notice of Hearing must contain the above information and be sent to the Registrant at his address not less than 28 days before the date of the hearing. The Panel notes that the Rules do not refer specifically to rescheduled hearings.
3. Since notice was given on 16 June and on 20 July 2016, the Panel note that the Registrant has been sent a further letter by email of 11 August 2016 by Ms Willoughby.  She had reminded the Registrant of the rescheduled hearing on 15 August 2016 and asked had him to confirm his position.  The Registrant has not replied to that email letter.
4. The Panel heard from Ms Willoughby that today’s hearing was rescheduled from 20 July and that the HCPC’s position is that the new notice of hearing is an updated version, as the Registrant has previously been given more than 28 days’ notice of the hearing on the 20 July 2016.  She reminded the Panel that the current Order is due to expire in Monday 22 August 2016. 
5. The Panel has carefully considered matters.  It has borne in mind the importance of fairness to the Registrant and has balanced that with the need to protect the public and for expedition. The Panel are satisfied that the Registrant was fully aware of the 20 July 2016 hearing and of today’s rescheduled hearing. He has had notice and there is no prejudice to him.  Today’s hearing was rescheduled from 20 July and the Registrant has had an additional 26 days’ notice of the hearing today. The Panel is satisfied that proper notice of today’s hearing has been properly served in accordance with the Rules. The Panel takes the view that there is no unfairness caused to the Registrant.
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant:
6. The Panel then went on to consider whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. In doing so, it considered the submissions of Ms Willoughby for the HCPC. 
7. Ms Willoughby submitted that under Rule 11 of the Rules the HCPC is seeking that the Panel proceed in the absence of the Registrant. She submitted that the Registrant has not sought an adjournment and that he has received notice of the hearing and responded by email indicating that he would not attend.  She submitted that the Panel can be satisfied that the Registrant’s absence today is voluntary and he has waived his right to attend or be represented.  She submitted that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose and there was a public interest in this matter being dealt with expeditiously.
8. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised that if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing then the Panel has the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He reminded the Panel that it should exercise that discretion with the utmost care and caution. The Legal Assessor referred the Panel to the HCPC Guidance Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and to the recent case of Adeogba v GMC [2016] EWCA Civ 62.  This case makes clear that the first question the Panel should ask is whether all reasonable efforts have been made to serve the Registrant with notice.  Thereafter, if the Panel is satisfied that proper notice has been given, the discretion whether or not to proceed must be exercised having regard to all the circumstances of which the Panel is aware, with fairness to the Registrant being a prime consideration, but fairness to the HCPC and with the interests of the public also taken into account.
9. The Panel agreed to proceed in the Registrant’s absence as it is satisfied that it is both in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interest to do so. In reaching this decision, the Panel has noted there has been no request for an adjournment. It balanced fairness to the Registrant with fairness to the HCPC and the public interest. The Panel is of the view that the Registrant has voluntarily absented himself and no useful purpose would be served by adjourning the hearing. The Panel has also taken account of the fact that this is a mandatory review. The Panel weighed its responsibilities for public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case with the Registrant’s right to be present at the hearing. In these circumstances the Panel is satisfied that it is appropriate to proceed in his absence.
Background
10. The Registrant is a Paramedic.  He had continued to practise as a Paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust for 7 months from October 2010 to May 2011 despite his registration with the HCPC having lapsed.  He then failed to complete an adequate reflective practice exercise regarding the registration lapse following his employer’s Disciplinary hearing. 
11. At the HCPC Final Hearing on 29 August 2012 the Panel found that the Registrant’s fitness to practice was impaired on the grounds of misconduct and a sanction of 12 months Suspension Order was imposed.  The Registrant had not engaged at the Final Hearing and there had been no evidence of insight or remorse.
HCPC Submissions:
12. Ms Willoughby told the Panel that at the first Review the Registrant did not attend nor was he represented.  That Panel extended the Suspension Order for a further 12 months.  At the review on the 22 August 2014, the Registrant was present and represented himself.  He explained to that Panel his circumstances at the time of the lapse in registration. That Panel imposed a two year Conditions of Practice Order on the Registrant.
13. Ms Willoughby told the Panel that the Registrant had now advised the HCPC that he no longer wanted to be a Paramedic.  He had been sent a letter explaining the voluntary removal process but he had not responded.  Ms Willoughby advised that in the response to the notice of today’s hearing, the Registrant had told the HCPC that he had not practiced since 2011 and that he did not wish to pursue his career as a Paramedic. He had been sent the voluntary removal information and information on a Striking Off Order. 
14. Ms Willoughby advised that, in his reply to the HCPC of 19 July 2016, the Registrant had again advised that he no longer wanted to pursue his career as a Paramedic and that the Panel should proceed with its decision.  She told the Panel that on 11 August 2016 she had sent a further email to the Registrant asking him to confirm his position.  He had not replied.  She told the Panel that the Registrant has repeatedly told the HCPC he no longer wishes to be a Paramedic and he has not responded in respect of the option of voluntary removal. 
15. The Registrant has not practiced since 2011 and he has clearly indicated that he no longer wishes to practice as a Paramedic.  Ms Willoughby submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired and there is no evidence of any change since the Final Hearing four years ago. Ms Willoughby told the Panel that in all these circumstances the HCPC now seeks a Striking Off Order.
Decision:
16. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who reminded the Panel that its purpose today was to conduct a comprehensive appraisal to determine if the Registrant 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. The Legal Assessor advised that, in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgement and its determination should be based on the evidence before it.
17. 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 Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 could be exercised by the Panel. He advised the Panel that it should bear in mind the principles of fairness and proportionality and have regard to the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy. 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.
Decision on Impairment:
18. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel took into consideration all the documentation before it and the submissions of Ms Willoughby.  It noted that the Panel at the review on 22 August 2014, by imposing a Conditions of Practice Order, had given the Registrant an opportunity to develop further insight, to remediate and to re-engage with his profession.  He has not done so and has not complied with the conditions.  In the two years since the imposition of those conditions nothing appears to have changed.  There is no evidence of the Registrant having further developed insight into his misconduct or having maintained his practice. The Panel note from the bundle that, as recently as July 2016, the Registrant is reported in the HCPC file note as having stated that his misconduct was “very minor.” The Registrant continues to present a risk to Service Users.
19. The Panel has determined that in these circumstances the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.
Decision on Sanction:
20. The Panel then went on to consider what action, if any, it should take in light of its finding of current impairment. In doing so, it had careful regard to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy. The Panel is concerned that the Registrant has not fully engaged with the HCPC and has not complied with the Conditions of Practice Order.
21. The Panel first considered whether it would be appropriate to take no further action and to allow the current order to lapse at its expiry. The Panel is of the view, given the misconduct and the lack of insight and remediation by the Registrant, that it would not be appropriate to allow the order to lapse.  Similarly, as to whether a Caution Order would be appropriate, the Panel concluded that such an order would not be sufficient to address the misconduct found proven and neither would it be in the public interest. 
22. The Panel next considered whether a Conditions of Practice Order would be appropriate in this case.  It has determined that, given the two year Conditions of Practice Order imposed in August 2014 and the failure of the Registrant to respond to it, it would not be in the public interest to impose a further Conditions of Practice Order. 
23. The Panel then carefully considered a Suspension Order. It noted that there has already been a period of suspension followed by two years of conditions of practice. The Registrant has not taken up the opportunity to remediate offered by the suspension or the conditions. The Panel has noted the Registrant’s expressed view of his misconduct as “very minor” and his failure over four years to provide evidence of remediation and full insight. In these circumstances the Panel has determined that a further period of suspension would not be in the public interest and would not be an appropriate or proportionate sanction.
24. The Panel next considered Striking Off. It has noted the Registrant’s current position and his expressed view that he does not wish to continue with his career as a Paramedic.  The Panel noted his recently expressed view of the misconduct found proved and his persistent lack of full insight and remediation. It considers that he remains a risk to the public should he return to practice unrestricted. 
25. The Panel has carefully considered all the evidence and the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy.  It has, in particular, noted the terms of paragraphs 41 and 42 of that policy.  It has determined that, in this case, the Registrant has shown a persistent lack of insight and an unwillingness to engage with conditions that have been in place for two years.  He has not practised since 2011 and there is no evidence of any steps the Registrant has taken to maintain his skills and his practice.   In all the circumstances the Panel is concerned that the Registrant has shown an inability or unwillingness to resolve matters in the four years since the Final Hearing. 
26. The Panel is also mindful of the need to protect the public and the wider public interest in maintaining confidence in the profession and upholding proper standards.   In the circumstances of this case the Panel has reached the view that the only proportionate and appropriate sanction is to impose a Striking Off Order.

Order

Order:


That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Kevin Darin Adams from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.


The Order imposed today will come into effect on 27 September 2016.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Kevin Darin Adams

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
15/08/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
20/07/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Hearing has not yet been held