Mr Andrew Rowley

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA33296

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 08/01/2016 End: 12:30 08/01/2016

Location: Health and Care Professions Council, Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London, SE11 4BU

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

Allegations (as found proved at Final Hearing which ended 9 January 2015)

During the course of your employment as a Paramedic with Yorkshire Ambulance Service between November 2004 and March 2013, you:

1. Behaved inappropriately towards Colleague A in that you:

a. Said words to the effect of ‘I don't want to sit on that sofa with her and Person F's juices on it’;
b. Said words to the effect of ‘What's this I hear about you getting back on ****’;
c. Said words to the effect of ‘It doesn't matter “Colleague A”, I'd still do you’;
d. Made a gesture in which you held out your fingers and placed your tongue between them;

2. Behaved inappropriately towards Colleague C in that you:

a. Said words to the effect of ‘Shut up you old ****;
b. Said words to the effect of ‘Listen at ****corner’;

3. Behaved inappropriately towards Colleague D, a new member of staff, in that you told her other colleagues had said she was ‘useless and ****' or words to that effect.

4. Behaved inappropriately towards Colleague E in that you pointed to your badge and said ‘this badge means I can knee you in your balls’ or words to that effect.

5. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 - 4 constitute misconduct.

6. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

The Registrant was neither present nor represented. The Panel was satisfied that notice of today’s hearing had been properly served on him in terms of rules 3 and 6 of the Conduct and Competence Procedure Rules and thereafter considered Ms Aumeerally’s application to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel is aware that its discretion to proceed in absence is one which should be exercised with the utmost care and caution. There has been no engagement by the Registrant since the substantive order was made and no request for an adjournment. The Panel is therefore of the view that the Registrant would be unlikely to attend at a future date if the matter were adjourned. Given that this is a mandatory review, the Panel has concluded that the public interest in conducting this review outweighs the Registrant’s interest and in these circumstances the Panel is satisfied that it is appropriate to proceed in his absence.

The Registrant is a paramedic. On 9 January 2015 a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee found that his fitness was impaired by reason of misconduct, having found that he had behaved inappropriately towards four colleagues by making inappropriate sexual comments and gestures.  On that date the Panel imposed a suspension order for a period of twelve months. The Panel today is conducting a review of that suspension order in terms of Article 30(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.

The Panel heard from Ms Aumeerally who outlined the circumstances which led to the imposition of the current order. Ms Aumeerally referred the Panel to the guidance given by the previous Panel as to what information may be of assistance to the Panel conducting this review. Ms Aumeerally advised that no correspondence had been received from the Registrant since the substantive hearing. Ms Aumeerally asked the Panel to consider making a striking off order. Ms Aumeerally also advised the Panel that the HCPC had written to the Registrant and his representative on three occasions asking if he wished to explore the possibility of a Voluntary Removal Agreement, given that he had made it clear at the substantive hearing that he no longer wished to maintain his registration. Ms Aumeerally confirmed that no response had been received from the Registrant or his representative.

The task of the Panel today is not to go behind the decision of the previous panel but to determine what, if any, order should be made when the current order expires. The Panel has considered the sanctions available to it and has had regard to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Guidance. The Panel has considered the submissions of Ms Aumeerally and has heard and accepted the advice of the legal assessor.

The original Panel found that the Registrant lacked insight and stated that, given the Registrant’s engagement with the process, “with reflection he may be able to address his failings and reach an understanding as to the gravity of the findings made against him”.  The previous Panel suggested that it may be of assistance for the Registrant to provide a reflective account demonstrating insight and a full appreciation by him of the gravity of the findings made against him; to provide character and professional references as to his ongoing conduct in the work place from people of good standing who were aware of these proceedings and of the outcome; and to provide evidence in person to the reviewing panel of his ongoing remediation of his misconduct.

The Registrant has not engaged since the substantive hearing and has not provided the evidence that the original Panel suggested may assist this reviewing Panel. This Panel draws no adverse inference from the Registrant’s lack of engagement. However, in the absence of evidence of remediation or insight, the Panel has concluded that there remains a risk of repetition, thereby engaging the wider public interest issues identified by the original Panel. For these reasons, the Panel has concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.

The Panel went on to consider what, if any, sanction was appropriate and proportionate in this case. The Panel considered that taking no further action or imposing a caution order would be insufficient to represent the wider public interest in maintaining confidence in the profession, given the seriousness of the Registrant’s misconduct.  The Panel next considered the imposition of a conditions of practice order, concluding that it was not possible to formulate workable conditions that would address the misconduct, given its nature and the attitudinal failings identified. 

The Panel next considered whether to extend the current suspension order. This would prevent a recurrence of the misconduct and would act to maintain public confidence in the profession. It would also give the Registrant a further opportunity to achieve and provide evidence of remediation and to reconsider whether he wished to re-enter his profession.

For completeness, the Panel went on to consider the imposition of a striking off order, concluding that this would be disproportionate at this stage, given that the Registrant’s conduct was not fundamentally incompatible with remaining on the Register.

The Panel next considered the appropriate length of the suspension order, concluding that 12 months was the minimum necessary to allow the Registrant to gather evidence over a sustained period of appropriate behaviour.  Therefore, a twelve month suspension order to begin on expiry of the current order is made.

That order will be reviewed prior to its expiry. The Panel conducting that review might be assisted by the Registrant providing a reflective account demonstrating insight and a full appreciation, by him, of the gravity of the findings made against him; providing character and professional references as to his ongoing conduct in the work place from people of good standing who were aware of these proceedings and of the outcome; and providing evidence in person to the reviewing panel of his ongoing remediation of his misconduct. This Panel considers that the Registrant should be capable of providing this information based on his performance in any paid or voluntary field of employment.

Order

The Panel directs the Registrar to extend the current Suspension Order for a period of twelve months with effect from the expiry of the current order in terms of article 30 (1)(a) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.

Notes

The Order will be reviewed before its expiry on 06 February 2016.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Andrew Rowley

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
27/06/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed
08/01/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended