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Service of Notice of Hearing:
1. The Panel was informed by the Hearings Officer that notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant’s registered address by letter on 11th January 2015. The Registrant had replied by email dated 7th February 2016 starting that she did not intend to attend the hearing. The Panel was accordingly satisfied that there had been good service.
Proceeding in absence:
2. Ms Horren on behalf of the HCPC invited the Panel to exercise its discretion. The Panel received and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who advised that the Panel’s discretion to proceed in the Registrant’s absence should only be exercised with the utmost care and caution. It also paid regard to the HCPC’s Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant.
3. The Panel noted that the Registrant had not applied for an adjournment and, in fact, had indicated in an email of 6th January 2016, that “I do wish it [the hearing] to go ahead without my presence.” The Registrant reiterated her intention not to attend the hearing in the email dated 7 February 2016 mentioned above. Accordingly, the Panel concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself.
4. The Panel also noted that the purpose of this hearing was to consider the terms of a voluntary removal agreement agreed between the HCPC and the Registrant, which had already been signed in readiness for today’s hearing. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s expectation was that the proceedings would go ahead. She made representations to the HCPC consistently indicating both that she wished for there to be a voluntary removal agreement in place and that she did not intend to attend a hearing. As such, there was no purpose to be served by adjourning proceedings and it was both in the Registrant’s interest and in the public interest that the agreement should be considered expeditiously.
5. The Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.
Application for proceedings to be heard in private:
6. An application was made on behalf of the Registrant for the case to be heard in private.
7. The Panel was referred by the Legal Assessor to the Practice Note on Hearings in Private and took into account the representations made on behalf of the Registrant in considering whether to hold the hearing in public or private.
8. The Panel considered that the principle of open justice required there to be a public hearing. The Panel concluded that that there was insufficient evidence of exceptional detriment that would be caused to the Registrant to justify the proceedings being held in private. However, the Registrant’s application was granted in a limited aspect: any reference that was to be made to the Registrant’s health issues would be heard in private.
9. The Registrant commenced her employment as a Band 5 Dietician with the NHS Trust in 2010.
10. On 18 March 2013, concerns were raised about the care the Registrant had provided to a patient. The patient’s clinical records were photocopied and it was later noted that the Registrant had amended the patient’s clinical records, evidenced by discrepancies between the photocopies and the original clinical records. This matter was reported to Human Resources, investigated and the Registrant received a Final Written Warning from her employer in December 2013.
11. In December 2014, a Final HCPC Fitness to Practice hearing found the Registrant’s fitness to practice to be impaired.
12. The Panel heard submissions from Ms Horren. She submitted that the Registrant has made partial admissions to the allegations but denied behaving dishonestly. Her actions had nonetheless been found to be dishonest at a Final Fitness to Practice hearing. Consideration of a Voluntary Removal Agreement (“VRA”) had initially been at the Registrant’s suggestion, following a telephone call to the HCPC on 14 October 2015 and an email on 20 October 2015. The HCPC indicated that it was content that a VRA was suitable in this case.
13. The Panel first reminded itself of the guidance offered in the HCPC Practice Note entitled “Disposal of Cases by Consent”.
14. The Panel considered that the matters found proved at the Final Fitness to Practice hearing were serious. These gave rise to concerns in relation to the safety of patients, and to the wider public interest, including maintaining confidence in the profession and the regulatory process, and upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour. These findings were consistent with those of the previous panels.
15. In considering both patient protection and the wider public interest, the Panel considered that a VRA will ensure that the public is protected from this Registrant as she will not be able to practice in her professional capacity, in positions requiring HCPC registration.
16. The public can therefore be assured that the profession and the regulatory body has taken this matter seriously. Noone in the profession could be in any doubt that the conduct found proved was has been taken seriously.
17. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant has had the consequences of a VRA fully explained to her, orally and in writing. Her view since October 2015 has been that a VRA is in her own interest. There is no public interest remaining in requiring further reviews to take place.
18. Accordingly the Panel is satisfied that a VRA is an appropriate disposal of this matter.
19. For these reasons, the Voluntary Removal Agreement is approved.
The Registrar is directed to remove the name of Ms Kavita Bargota from the Register with immediate effect.
This is a Conduct and Competence Committee Voluntary Removal Agreement Hearing to take place at Park House, London on Friday 12 February 2016 at 10:00am.
The registrant may not seek to rejoin the register for 5 years following this decision.
History of Hearings for Kavita Bargota
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|12/02/2016||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Voluntary Removal agreed|