Mr Bruce C Kirrage

Profession: Operating department practitioner

Registration Number: ODP06535

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:30 08/12/2016 End: 12:00 08/12/2016

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

Panel: Health Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

The following allegation was put before a Panel of the Health Committee at the Substantive Hearing which took place 13 – 14 December 2010:

Your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your health.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service

1. Mr Kirrage has neither attended this hearing nor was he represented. The Panel therefore began by deciding whether he had been given proper notice of this hearing. On 8 November 2016 a letter was sent to Mr Kirrage informing him of the HCPC’s intention to review the Suspension Order imposed on 14 December 2010 and last reviewed on 1 December 2015, when an Suspension Order was imposed. That letter included the correct date, time and location of the hearing. The details of the hearing were also contained in a further letter dated 8 November 2016 and the information contained in that second letter was sent to Mr Kirrage by email on the same day. The Panel was satisfied that the sending of this letter afforded Mr Kirrage an opportunity of appearing before the Panel and being heard on the question of whether an order should be made. It is therefore satisfied that the notice requirement applicable to an application of this sort has been effected.

Application to proceed in the absence of the Registrant

2. The Panel next considered the HCPC’s application that the hearing should proceed in the absence of Mr Kirrage. In making its decision the Panel heeded the advice it received from the Legal Assessor that great care should be exercised before ordering that any hearing should proceed in the absence of the registrant concerned. The Panel also had regard to the HCPC’s Practice Note entitled, “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant”. The conclusion reached by the Panel was that this hearing should proceed notwithstanding Mr Kirrage’s absence from it. The reasons for this decision were as follows:

• The Panel considered the letter received on 21 November 2016 from Mr Kirrage’s care co-ordinator. This confirmed that Mr Kirrage was aware of the Hearing listed on 8 December but would not be attending the Hearing and no request was made for the Hearing to be adjourned.

• The Panel was satisfied that Mr Kirrage had been afforded a reasonable time to make representations to the Panel.

• Accordingly, the Panel concluded that were the application to be adjourned to be determined on a future occasion the position would be no different to the present.

• It followed that it was in the public interest to proceed with the Hearing today. Accordingly, the Panel directed that the review hearing should proceed in his absence of Mr Kirrage.

Background

3. The Registrant is a registered Operating Department Practitioner. On 14 December 2010 a Panel of the HCPC Health Committee decided that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his health and imposed a Conditions of Practice Order. The conditions that were put in place were designed to meet the risks posed by the Registrant’s health condition. This Order was reviewed on 2 January 2014 where a Suspension Order was made for a period of twelve months. This Suspension Order was reviewed on 1 December 2014 and a further Suspension Order for a period of twelve months was made. At the next Review Hearing held on 1 December 2015 a Suspension Order was made for 12 months. This Order is due to expire on 11 January 2017.

Decision

4. The Panel carefully reviewed all the information in the HCPC bundle of documents, including the recent letter received on 21 November 2016 from Mr Kirrage’s Care Co-ordinator, stating he is not fully recovered and does not wish to pursue a return to his career as an Operating Department Practitioner.

5. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired, in view of the letter received on 21 November 2016 from Mr Kirrage’s Care Co-ordinator and the absence of new evidence to the contrary, since the last review. Mr Kirrage’s health condition gives rise to the potential for harm to service users and presents risks relevant to the wider public interest in maintaining confidence in the profession and the regulatory process.

6. The Panel considered sanctions in ascending order of severity. The Panel concluded that taking no further action or a Caution Order would fail to mitigate the identified risks.

 7.  The Panel considered that it would be impossible to formulate workable conditions of practice given the lack of engagement by the Registrant and the nature of his health condition.

8. The Panel decided that a Suspension Order was not appropriate or proportionate in the circumstances. The Panel considered that a substantial period of time has passed since the original Order imposed on 14 December 2010.  During this time, there has been very limited engagement by Mr Kirrage and almost none in the last two years during which his Suspension Order has been imposed on his practice.  Mr Kirrage has not taken the opportunity to re - engage with the process, nor is there any evidence that he has kept his skill up to date.  He has stated he no longer wishes to practice as an Operating Department Practitioner whether he was to make a recovery or not.

9. The Panel considered all the options at its disposal.  It considered the Registrant’s long period out of practice and his lack of up to date skills.  It noted that Mr Kirrage’s practice has been the subject of Conditions and thereafter he has been continuously suspended for two years.  Having considered the Guidance, the Panel was satisfied that the only adequate way to deal with this case is to impose a Striking Off Order. The Panel in making this decision was aware that the correspondence to him of 8 November 2016 made the Registrant aware that a Striking Off Order was an option available to the Panel.

10. Ms Allen for the HCPC, acknowledged the HCPC Practice Note and submitted that a Striking Off Order was appropriate as the Registrant has failed to engage with the HCPC for a prolonged period in the assessment of his health.  There has been no evidence of improvement in Mr Kirrage’s health during the intervening period since December 2014 when the first Order was imposed .Therefore there is a continued risk to the protection of the public and the public confidence in the profession.

11. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor that Article 29(6) is a jurisdictional provision and should therefore be interpreted narrowly. The Panel took the same view as the previous review Panel that a Striking Off order may not be made under Article 29(6) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 unless the Registrant has been continuously suspended for a period of two years.

12. The Panel therefore decided that the appropriate and proportionate sanction was   a Striking Off Order.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to strike off the registration of Mr Bruce C Kirrage from the Register upon expiry of the current suspension order.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Bruce C Kirrage

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
08/12/2016 Health Committee Review Hearing Struck off
01/12/2015 Health Committee Review Hearing Suspended