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1) On or around 19 October 2013: (a) took 16, 10mg ampules of morphine from the morphine safe in two separate vehicles at Loughborough Ambulance Station without a clinical reason for doing so; (b) did not log or sign out the 16,10mg ampules of morphine in the Controlled Drugs record book(s) as required; 2) Your actions set out at paragraph 1 was dishonest; 3) The matters set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 constitute misconduct; 4) By reason of that misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.
1) On or around 19 October 2013:
(a) took 16, 10mg ampules of morphine from the morphine safe in two separate vehicles at Loughborough Ambulance Station without a clinical reason for doing so;
(b) did not log or sign out the 16,10mg ampules of morphine in the Controlled Drugs record book(s) as required;
2) Your actions set out at paragraph 1 was dishonest;
3) The matters set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 constitute misconduct;
4) By reason of that misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.
1. The Panel is satisfied that good service has been effected by service of the Notice of hearing to the Registrant’s registered address by letter dated 9 November 2015.
Proceeding in absence
2. On behalf of the HCPC, Mr Orpin-Massey invited the Panel to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He submitted that the Registrant has voluntarily waived his right to attend and be represented. He contended the Registrant was unlikely to attend a subsequent hearing if this matter were adjourned. He submitted that it was in the public interest and the Registrant’s interest for this matter to proceed today.
3. The Panel is satisfied by the Registrant’s hand-written letter dated 20 December 2015 that he is aware of the date, time and purpose of this hearing. The Panel has concluded that the Registrant has voluntarily waived his right to be present or represented at this hearing and that it is in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interest that this hearing should proceed in his absence.
Proceeding in private
4. On behalf of the HCPC, Mr Orpin–Massey invited the Panel to hear part of this case in private in order to protect the Registrant’s private life. He submitted that the Panel would be required to consider information and submissions dealing with the Registrant’s health at the time of this incident, as these matters were linked to the HCPC’s rationale for the proposed voluntary removal agreement.
5. Having considered the HCPC Practice Note on “Conducting Hearings in Private” and accepting the advice of the Legal Assessor, the Panel has decided that, in the circumstances of this case, it is appropriate to hear those matters which touch on the Registrant’s health in private. As such, this is a redacted public copy of the private decision.
6. The Registrant is a Paramedic. He has been employed by the East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (“the Trust”) since June 1983. He has an on-going health condition for which he requires medication and receives other treatment.
7. On 19 October 2013, the Registrant took 16 vials of morphine from two vehicles at one of the Trust ambulance stations.
8. The Trust reported the Registrant’s removal of the controlled drugs to the police. Neither the Trust nor the police pursued criminal charges. Following the completion of its investigation, the Trust offered the Registrant redeployment to the role of an Emergency Care Assistant, which does not require HCPC registration.
9. On 9 July 2015, an Investigating Committee Panel of the HCPC referred an allegation that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of his misconduct to a Conduct and Competence Committee hearing.
10. By letter dated 17 August 2015, the Registrant sought voluntary removal from the Register and confirmed that he remained employed by the Trust but was not undertaking any Paramedic duties. He stated that he was employed as an Emergency Care Assistant. By letter dated 22 September 2015, the Registrant confirmed that he accepted the allegation advanced by the HCPC in full and re-stated his wish to be removed from the Register.
11. Before making its decision on the application for voluntary removal of the Registrant from the Register, the Panel carefully considered the documents before it, including the Registrant’s representations. The Panel heard submissions on behalf of the HCPC. It considered the relevant parts of the HCPC Practice Note on “Disposing of Cases By Consent” and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.
12. The Panel reminded itself that its primary function was to protect the public. In that regard, its task was to consider the proposal to deal with this case by agreeing to a voluntary removal of the Registrant from the Register. If the Panel is satisfied that such a removal would secure the necessary degree of public protection and would not be detrimental to wider public considerations, it could approve that proposal. If the Panel were not satisfied of these matters, then the appropriate course would be to reject the voluntary agreement proposal and set the case down for a full hearing before a different Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee.
13. The Panel is satisfied that a voluntary removal agreement would secure the necessary degree of public protection required in all the circumstances of this case. Such an order is in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interest. There are no wider public interest considerations which would be adversely affected by a decision which permitted the discontinuance of these proceedings in order to permit the voluntary removal of the Registrant’s name from the Register.
That the Registrar is directed to remove the name of Mr Colin Downes from the Register with immediate effect.
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.
History of Hearings for Colin Downes
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|05/01/2016||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Voluntary Removal agreed|