Colin H Vincent

Profession: Physiotherapist

Registration Number: PH04653

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 21/12/2016 End: 17:00 21/12/2016

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

During the course of your practice as a Band 7 Physiotherapist at Bromley Healthcare, whilst providing physiotherapy treatment to Service Users at Scadbury Ward (Oxleas NHS Trust):


1. In relation to Service User A who was admitted on the ward on 21 July 2013:
a) You did not complete a falls risk assessment for Service User A.


2. In relation to Service User B who was admitted on the ward on 12 July 2013:
a) You did not document Service User B’s balance and gait pattern.
b) You did not carry out full written assessments of mobility, balance and muscle strength.
c) You did not use evidence based intervention plans to assess the risk of falls for Service User B.
d) You did not complete a Care Plan in relation to mobility and falls risk.
e) You did not document in Service User B’s progress notes on 05 August 2013, whether exercises you prescribed were reviewed or carried out again on.


3. You did not work collaboratively with other health care professionals in that:
a)  You did not liaise with nursing staff on the ward post falls or where there was an increase in incidents in Service User B getting up unaided.


4. The matters set out in paragraphs 1-3 amount to a lack of competence.


5. By reason of your lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters

Proof of service

1. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had been served with notice of the hearing in accordance with the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”).

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

2. Ms Hamilton made an application for the Panel to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel took into account the HCPC Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was aware that the Registrant had signed an agreement for voluntary removal from the register. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself from the hearing and would be unlikely to attend at a future date if the hearing were to be adjourned. In the Panel’s judgment, no useful purpose would be served by an adjournment. The Panel considered that it was in the public interest and the Registrant’s interest for the matter to be heard and determined without further delay. The Panel therefore decided to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant.

Background

3. The Registrant is a registered Physiotherapist. He was employed by Bromley Healthcare Community Interest Company (Bromley Healthcare) as a Band 7 Physiotherapist from 1 November 2002 to 23 May 2014. The Registrant started working on Scadbury ward at Oxleas Foundation Trust (the Trust) in July 2006 under a new Service Level Agreement between Bromley Healthcare and the Trust.

4. Concerns arose in relation to the Registrant’s practice regarding two patients, Service Users A and B, as a result of which the Registrant underwent an internal formal performance management process. Following that process on 3 March 2014 his employer suspended him on full pay pending a formal investigation. A formal capability hearing was held on 30 April 2014.

5. The HCPC was notified of these concerns by Bromley Healthcare on 12 March 2014.

6. On 24 August 2015 a Panel of the Investigating Committee of the HCPC determined that there was a case to answer in relation to an allegation that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired.

7. On 25 April 2016 the HCPC received a telephone call from the Registrant to the effect that he had retired as a Physiotherapist in 2015 and wished to have his name removed from the register. By letter to the HCPC dated 19 June 2016 the Registrant confirmed that he wished to be permanently removed from the register.

8. At a preliminary hearing on 25 August 2016 on the application of the HCPC a Panel decided to discontinue certain particulars of the allegation on the basis that there was no realistic prospect of a finding at a final hearing that those particulars would be proved.

9. On 15 December 2016 the Registrant signed a Voluntary Removal Agreement, by which
1) the HCPC agreed to withdraw and discontinue all proceedings in relation to the Allegation; and
2) the Registrant, in consideration of that withdrawal and discontinuance, agreed:

a. to resign from the HCPC register
b. to cease to practise as a Physiotherapist or use any title associated with that profession; and
c. that, if the Registrant at any time seeks to be readmitted to the HCPC register, in considering any such application the HCPC shall act as if the Registrant had been struck off the register as a result of the Allegation.

Decision

10. The Panel was provided by the HCPC with a bundle of documents evidencing the background to the allegations against the Registrant, the HCPC proceedings to date, the Registrant’s various requests to be removed from the register and the Voluntary Removal Agreement signed by the Registrant and the Director of Fitness to Practise on behalf of the HCPC.

11. The Panel noted the wording of Particular 2(e). It appeared to be incomplete, in that it ends with the words ‘reviewed or carried out again on.’ This particular appeared din identical terms in the original Investigating Committee decision, where it was numbered 2(g). In view of the Panel’s decision to allow the discontinuance of the Allegation as a whole, the Panel did not consider it necessary to make an amendment to the existing wording.

12. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s agreement to the process of voluntary removal was in fact voluntary. The Panel noted that it was the Registrant who first raised the possibility of voluntary removal in his telephone conversation with the HCPC on 25 April 2016. By letter to the Registrant dated 9 May 2016 the HCPC acknowledged his request and explained to him the process of voluntary removal. By letter to the HCPC dated 19 June 2016 the Registrant confirmed his wish to proceed with voluntary removal. On 15 December 2016 the Registrant signed the Voluntary Removal Agreement. Having regard to all these factors, the Panel was satisfied that the process of voluntary removal was initiated and pursued by the Registrant and would give effect to an unequivocal decision on his part.

13. The Panel next considered, having regard to guidance contained in the HCPC Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent, whether the Voluntary Removal Agreement would provide an appropriate level of public protection. The Panel was satisfied in that regard because the effect of the Agreement was to prevent the Registrant from practising as a Physiotherapist. It thereby provided a higher level of protection than if the HCPC were to continue with the fitness to practise proceedings, which at most would result in the Registrant being subject to a Suspension Order, given that the allegations related to lack of competence rather than misconduct.

14. The Panel also considered the wider public interest in deciding whether to approve the Voluntary Removal Agreement. The fact that the allegations concerned lack of competence, rather than misconduct, indicated that there was no compelling public interest in the allegations being ventilated at a public hearing. Further, the Panel was mindful that Voluntary Removal would enable a more expeditious disposal of the proceedings, thereby giving effect to the Registrant’s wishes whilst sparing him the stress of a substantive hearing and resulting in a significant saving of costs for the HCPC.

15. In all the circumstances the Panel was satisfied that the Voluntary Removal Agreement was an appropriate disposal of the matter and that it addressed any public protection and wider public interest issues.

16. The Panel therefore consented to the HCPC discontinuing these proceedings.

Order

The HCPC agreed to discontinue the proceedings against the Registrant in relation to Allegation.

Notes

If the Registrant seeks to return to the HCPC Register at any time the application would be treated as if the registrant had been struck off as a result of that allegation.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Colin H Vincent

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
21/12/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed