Mr Onovughakpor E Oseruvwoja

Profession: Biomedical scientist

Registration Number: BS62305

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 18/02/2016 End: 12:30 18/02/2016

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

As found proved at the Final Hearing on 08 - 12 July 2013 and 15 - 17 October 2013

During the course of your employment as a Biomedical Scientist with Warrington and

Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, between June 2009 and January 2012, you:

1. Did not demonstrate required competency level on:

a. Blood Culture bench;

b. Wound bench;

c. Sputum bench;

d. Faeces bench;

e. Urine bench;

f. Virology bench;

g. Plate reading bench;

h. Gram stains;

i. Specimen processing;

2. Did not demonstrate appropriate time management skills;

3. Did not prioritise tasks appropriately;

4. Did not demonstrate an appropriate awareness of Health and Safety issues;

5. The matters outlined in paragraphs 1 – 4 constitute misconduct and/or lack of

competence; and

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

is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters:

Service

1. On the available documents the Panel was satisfied that proper notification of this hearing had been given which was confirmed by the Registrant’s attendance.

Background

2.The Panel does not intend to rehearse the full background to this case suffice to say  that  the Registrant was employed as a Band 5 Biomedical Scientist (BMS) with the Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) in the Microbiology Department from June 2009. This was his first post as a qualified BMS, after some years of study at degree level. He was employed at the Trust from June 2009 until January 2012, when he was dismissed by the Trust.

3. It was determined by the Final Hearing panel that the facts were found proved and that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired at the time by reason of his misconduct, in that he breached fundamental HCPC Standards. During the course of its determination, the panel determined that the facts found proved demonstrated that the Registrant fell significantly below the basic level of BMS practice, spanning all areas of clinical bench work in the laboratory, time management and health and safety, over a considerable period of time. The errors identified had the potential to put patients at risk and related to a variety of BMS duties and responsibilities. It was also determined that these constituted several serious fundamental breaches of the Standards of the profession. A lack of insight was found. In the view of the previous panel, the fact that the Trust spent over two years trying to help and remediate the Registrant without success indicated that the Registrant was resistant to change. It concluded that the conduct was remediable but that there remained a risk of repetition. That panel determined that an appropriate and proportionate sanction was to impose a Suspension Order of 12 months’ duration.

Today’s hearing
4 .The Registrant gave evidence. He stated that he was pleased to attend University in 2005 after a five year break in his education. He developed an interest in biomedical science. He secured an interview for a placement in May 2006. In his opinion the placement went well. The Registrant felt that he was a model student and he wanted a return on what he had invested as a student. The Registrant graduated with a 2:1 degree. The Registrant then started work at the Trust.

5. In respect of the Final Hearing, the Registrant’s evidence was that his former employers had failed to follow internal policies. He also raised that his colleagues had also made mistakes. The Registrant concentrated on matters argued and not accepted at the Final Hearing. The Registrant was reminded about the remit of this Hearing on several occasions so that the Panel could learn about what he had done since the Final Hearing in order to assess his current fitness to practise. He told the Panel that in terms of reflective learning he had written an “academic thesis” in response to a public consultation by the HCPC about appraisals and other matters.

6. It was clear to the Panel that the Registrant’s perspective about his misconduct had not changed since the Final Hearing. He had exercised a right of appeal which was not held against him. However, the appeal was finally disposed of in February 2015 and the Registrant has had the past 12 months, whilst he has been suspended, to focus on remedial steps, to develop an understanding of the issues and to gather evidence to persuade this Panel that his fitness to practise is no longer impaired. The Panel found that the Registrant still lacks insight with regard to his professional failings at the time of the Final Hearing, but he has now begun to develop an insight into weaknesses in his current fitness to practise due to his having been out of work as a Biomedical Scientist for several years. The Registrant recognised that he could not return to practice without being a trainee or without being under supervision as his skills had diminished by being away from practice for such a long time. In the Panel’s view this insight may develop further.

7. In terms of reflection and remediation, the Panel did not accept that a response to a public consultation by the HCPC about appraisals directly addressed the issues in this case. There was no evidence of any other reflection or remediation. The Panel considered however that there was a possibility that the Registrant may remedy the identified deficiencies in his practice by taking directly relevant steps in the future.

8. Miss Horren, on behalf of the HCPC, submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired by reason of his misconduct. She submitted that an order was still necessary. She submitted that, at the very least, a suspension order was justified. Whilst the Panel has taken account of these submissions, it is not fettered by them and the decision whether the Registrant is impaired is a matter for this Panel exercising its own independent judgment.

9. In reaching its decision, this Panel has accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and exercised the principle of proportionality. It has also had regard to the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy.

10. In light of the available evidence, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s fitness to practice is still impaired and that the public would not be protected if the Registrant were to be permitted to return to unrestricted practise. The Panel considered that, in the absence of evidence that the Registrant has developed sufficient insight into his failings and has taken action to remedy these failings, there remains a risk of repetition and therefore a risk to the public.

11 There is a persuasive burden on him to demonstrate that he has fully acknowledged the potential risks to the public that his conduct caused and its consequences. The Registrant has not done so. Accordingly, the Panel has determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired by reason of his misconduct.

12. Central to the Panel’s consideration on sanction was the public interest. The public interest includes the need to protect service users, to declare and uphold proper  standards  of  behavior  and  to  maintain  public  confidence  in  the profession.

13. The Panel first considered taking no action or mediation and rejected these outcomes as, in the circumstances, it would be wholly inappropriate and inadequate to take no further action.

14. The Panel next considered imposing a Caution Order and rejected this sanction.

15. The Panel determined that this sanction could not meet the safeguards currently required to make the Registrant sufficiently safe to protect the public. The misconduct represents an approach that put the public at risk and undermined trust in the Registrant, as well as the confidence in the profession that the public was entitled to have. The incidents were not isolated as there was a pattern of failure to meet basic professional standards amounting to misconduct. The incidents were serious and not minor. There is insufficient evidence of complete insight. There is an unacceptable risk of repetition.

16. The  Panel  next  considered  replacing  the  current  Suspension  Order  with  a Conditions of Practice Order. The Registrant’s evidence has demonstrated that he has begun to develop insight but this is not complete. There is no evidence of remediation. Also, the Panel determined that, at this time, there were no suitable, enforceable or workable conditions that could meet the level of misconduct or fully address the wider public considerations in this case. Therefore, the Panel has rejected this.

17. The Panel next considered whether to extend the existing period of Suspension.

18. The Panel is persuaded that the Registrant will engage with the process and with a future review. He has begun to develop insight into his current fitness to practice and is likely to take remedial steps in the future. In such circumstances, removing the possibility of a further review by imposing a striking off order today would be disproportionate.

19. This Panel’s expectation is that the Registrant will take the opportunity to engage with the regulatory process and provide information to a future reviewing Panel. The Panel suggests that, amongst anything else he considers relevant, he submits:

(a)  Evidence of time in a medical laboratory which has developed his knowledge and experience in a role that does not require HCPC registration as a BMS. Such evidence should ideally be supported by evidence or testimony from a HCPC registered practitioner.

(b)  Any other testimonials from those who have worked with the Registrant addressing the findings of the previous Panel.

(c) Evidence of steps taken to learn and remedy the deficiencies found by the previous Panel.
(d) Evidence of CPD activity which satisfies the HCPC Return to Practice requirements.

(e) A concise essay addressing in turn each of the past failings and clearly demonstrating what learning has taken place and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that such shortcomings will not be repeated in the future. 

(f) Furthermore, the Registrant should attend the next Review to demonstrate his commitment, deal with any residual issues and to give evidence.

20. In all the circumstances, the Panel has determined that a proportionate and sufficient order to make is that the existing Suspension Order shall be extended for a further period of 12 months. This will give the Registrant the required time to develop his insight, take remedial action and evidence the same.

Order

Order: That the Registrar is directed to annotate the Register entry for the Registrant with a 12 months’ Suspension Order on the expiry of the existing 12 month Suspension Order.

Notes

This order will be reviewed before its expiry date.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Onovughakpor E Oseruvwoja

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
03/04/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
24/02/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
18/02/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended