Mr Wilson Thomas

Profession: Radiographer

Registration Number: RA62288

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 12:00 14/07/2016 End: 16:00 14/07/2016

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

1.     Being a registered Radiographer

 

a.     On 15 March 2011, you attended an interview at Mid Cheshire Hospital Foundation Trust for a position as a Band 5 Radiographer and:

                                                  i.    Achieved a score of 8% in a radiographer film viewing test concluded as part of the interview process; and

                                                 ii.    Demonstrated limited knowledge of radiography during the course of that interview;

b.     Not proved.

c.     Took a Test of Competence on 12 November 2013 where you demonstrated you do not possess sufficient basic knowledge to be registered as a Radiographer.

 

2.     The matters described in 1A(1), 1A(2) and 1C amount to a lack of competence.

 

3.     By reason of that lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service
1. The Panel was satisfied that good service had been effected at the Registrant’s home address in accordance with the rules.
Proceeding in absence

2. On behalf of the HCPC, Ms Rapu applied for the hearing to be conducted in the absence of the Registrant.  Ms Rapu contended that proof of service showed that the Registrant was or should be aware of the proceedings and had been notified of the date, time and location of this review hearing.   Ms Rapu submitted that it was in the public interest for the hearing to proceed.

3. Having considered the advice of the Legal Assessor (GMC v Adeogba [2016] EWCA Civ 162 “the fair, economical, expeditious and efficient disposal of allegations against medical practitioners is of real importance”), the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had received reasonable notice of the hearing. The Registrant had not applied for an adjournment.  He had voluntarily absented himself.  The Panel noted the over-riding public interest in dealing with matters in a timely manner and the fact that a substantive review was mandatory within 12 months.  The Panel therefore considered that the matter should be heard in his absence.

Background
4. The Registrant attended for an interview for a Band 5 Radiographer position at the Leighton Hospital, which was part of the Mid-Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, on 15 March 2011.   He achieved a score of just 8% in a combination of radiographic tests and demonstrated extremely limited knowledge of radiography during the course of that selection process.  Concerns about his performance were communicated to the HCPC very shortly afterwards. On 12 November 2013, he was asked to undertake a test of competence, which demonstrated that he did not possess sufficient basic knowledge to be registered as a Radiographer.  His knowledge and skills were rated well below the level of a first year Radiography student.

5. The matter was heard by the Conduct and Competence Committee of the HCPC on 17-18 July 2014. The Registrant did not attend and he was not represented. The Panel found that the deficiencies in his core competencies were so wide ranging as to represent a risk to the public.   The Registrant’s lack of understanding also constituted a serious lack of competence.

6. Accordingly, the Panel found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired on both the personal and public components.

7. A Caution Order would not have provided sufficient public protection. The deficiencies were so fundamental that no Conditions of Practice Order could have ensured safe practice. It followed that a Suspension Order was the only appropriate sanction. The option of striking off was not then available to the Panel.

8. The Order was first reviewed on 20 July 2015.  The Registrant did not attend and he was not represented. The reviewing Panel was not presented with any updated information from the Registrant.  The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant posed a danger to patients and he should not return to unrestricted practice.  The Suspension Order was therefore extended for a further 12 months.

9. This is the second mandatory review of the current Suspension Order.

10. In the absence of any information to the contrary, Ms Rapu for the HCPC submitted that the Registrant must be presumed to present a continuing risk to the public, and that his fitness to practise remained impaired. The Registrant had failed to engage in the regulatory process.   Ms Rapu invited the Panel to consider the ultimate sanction of striking-off, which is now available upon expiry of the present Suspension Order.  
Decision

11. Before reaching its decision, the present Panel considered the advice of the Legal Assessor.  The Panel reminded itself that its task was not to rehear the facts of the case, nor to go behind previous findings, but to conduct a thorough appraisal of whether the Registrant was fit to return to unrestricted practice.

12. The Panel adopts the finding of the previous Panel that the wide ranging deficiencies in the Registrant’s core competencies represent a risk to patients and the wider public, and that the Registrant’s lack of clinical competence constitutes a dangerous practitioner.

13. The Panel considers that there is no known change in the circumstances since the last hearing in terms of the assessment of risk and any evidence of remediation. The Registrant did not attend the previous review hearing or this hearing, and has not engaged with the process in any way.  The Panel was therefore not in a position to assess whether he had gained further insight or obtained any clinical training to address major deficiencies in his practice.  In the absence of such information, the Panel’s view was that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired in terms of the risk to patients.  Any other finding would damage confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process.
Sanction

14. In deciding the appropriate sanction at this stage, the Panel had regard to the advice of the Legal Assessor and the Indicative Sanctions Policy of the HCPC.  

15. The Panel notes that the Registrant has not worked as a Radiographer since 2013.  There is no indication in the last two years that he has re-engaged with his profession or with his regulator, or that he has any wish to do so. The Panel would have expected engagement from a Registrant who wished to improve his competence and return to the profession.

16. A Caution Order or Conditions of Practice Order would not address the serious risk to public safety that would arise if the Registrant were permitted to return to practice.

17. The Registrant has been subject to a Suspension Order for almost two years and he has not engaged with his profession or regulator.   This is a serious case of lack of competence. Due to the inherent danger of exposing patients to radiation, the Registrant continues to pose a serious risk to patient safety because of his dangerous practices.  
18. Rule 29(6) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 enables the Panel to consider the option of striking off in a case of impairment by reason of lack of competence where the person concerned has been continuously subject to a Conditions of Practice Order or a Suspension for a period of two years.

19. The Panel is mindful that Striking Off is a serious sanction of last resort, but it considers that this is a necessary and proportionate sanction for the protection of the public and for the maintenance of public confidence in the profession and the regulator. 

Order

Order: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Wilson Thomas from the Register on the date this order comes into effect

Notes

The Order imposed today will apply with effect from the expiry of the current Suspension Order on 15 August 2016.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Wilson Thomas

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
14/07/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off