Mrs Julie A Taylor

Profession: Radiographer

Registration Number: RA56007

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 08:30 11/07/2016 End: 11:00 11/07/2016

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

During the course of your employment as a Radiographer at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital Foundation NHS Foundation Trust from 26 April 2012 to 25 April 2014, you:

1. Provided inaccurate information to your employer regarding your absence from work during the following periods:

a. 20 - 27 September 2013, in which you stated that Service User 1 was in hospital after an attempted suicide.
b. 30 September 2013, in which you stated you had to attend to a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) meeting regarding Service User 1.

2. As part of your course work you submitted a radiography image to the University of Leeds without redacting the patient's name.

3. The matter set out in paragraph 1 was dishonest.

4. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 - 3 constitute misconduct.

5. By reason of your misconduct 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.   It was noted that the hearing bundle had been returned from the Registrant’s home address, but the Panel reminded itself that it was the duty of the Registrant to keep her contact details up to date.


Proceeding in absence


2. On behalf of the HCPC, Mr Tallis applied for the hearing to be conducted in the absence of the Registrant.  Notice of the date, time and location of this review hearing had been sent to her registered address and also via emails.  Various telephone calls had also been made to her last known telephone number. The Registrant has not responded to any of these means of communication.  Mr Tallis submitted that it was in the public interest for the hearing to proceed.  


3. Having considered the advice of the Legal Assessor, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had received reasonable notice of the hearing. 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.


4. 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 protection of the public required the hearing to proceed. The Panel further noted that the burden was on the Registrant to update the regulator as to her contact details, but there had been no contact or engagement with the regulator since 2014.


Background


5. The Registrant was employed by the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) as a Senior Mammographer in the Medical Imaging Department.  She was absent from work on 20 September, part of 23 September and from 24 to 27 September, and for part of the day on 30 September 2013.   She gave explanations that were inaccurate and dishonest, namely that Service User 1 (a family member) was in hospital after an attempted suicide and that she had to attend a Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services meeting regarding Service User 1.  


6. The Registrant had also submitted an image as part of her course work for the University of Leeds that contained an unredacted patient’s name.  


7.  As part of the investigation carried out by the Trust on 28 January 2014, the Registrant admitted that her excuses for her absence in September 2013 were untrue.


8. The full allegation was as follows:


During the course of your employment as a Radiographer at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital Foundation NHS Trust from 26 April 2012 to 25 April 2014, you:

1. Provided inaccurate information to your employer regarding your absence from work during the following periods:

a. 20-27 September 2013 in which you stated that Service User 1 was in hospital after an attempted suicide
b. 30 September 2013 in which you stated that had to attend a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) meeting regarding Service User 1.

2. As part of your course work you submitted a radiography image to the University of Leeds without redacting the patient’s name.

3. The matter set out in paragraph 1 was dishonest.

4. The matters set out in paragraphs 1-3 constitute misconduct.

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

9. The Conduct and Competence Committee panel of the HCPC found the facts at particulars 1-3 proved at the final hearing on 13-14 July 2015.  The panel found that particulars 1 and 3 constituted misconduct and the Registrant’s fitness to practise was thereby impaired. The facts at particular 2 did not amount to misconduct, because there was evidence to show that this was an isolated lapse with no adverse impact.

10. The Registrant did not attend the hearing and she was not represented.

11. In respect of particulars 1 and 3, that panel concluded that a finding of current impairment was necessary to maintain proper standards and public confidence in the profession of Radiographer and to protect the reputation of the regulatory process. There was no evidence before the panel of insight or remediation.

12. The panel imposed a Suspension Order for 12 months.   Lesser sanctions would not have reflected the gravity of the offence.  A Striking-Off Order was not necessary or proportionate at that stage, because it was considered possible that the Registrant might wish to return to safe and effective practice in the future.

13. The panel at the first hearing indicated that the panel reviewing the order would be assisted by the presence of the Registrant, evidence of her insight into these events, information regarding her plans for the future and evidence of the steps that she has taken to maintain her professional skills.

14. This is the first mandatory review of the current Suspension Order, which expires on 11 August 2016.

15. Mr Tallis for the HCPC outlined the original facts of the case. There was no information from the Registrant to update the Panel.  In the absence of any engagement or further evidence from the Registrant, Mr Tallis submitted that the Registrant must be presumed to present a continuing risk to the public, and that her fitness to practise remained impaired. 

16. There was no evidence as to her insight or indication of any remediation over the last two years.   Mr Tallis submitted that a further Suspension Order was the least sanction that was appropriate, but submitted that the Panel should consider a Striking-Off order as there was no evidence to suggest that the status quo would change.

Decision

17. Before reaching its decision as to current impairment, 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, or to go behind previous findings, but to conduct a thorough appraisal of whether the Registrant was fit to return to unrestricted practice.

18. The Panel considered that there was no known change in the circumstances since the last hearing in terms of the assessment of risk. The Registrant had not attended the previous hearing or this hearing.  The Panel was not in a position to assess whether she had whether she had developed insight.  There was no evidence of remediation or any attempt to address any of the review criteria.   There was no basis upon which the Panel could take any different view from the Panel at the final hearing.

19. In the absence of any evidence of engagement, the Panel’s view was that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired.

Sanction

20. 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.  

21. In the Registrant’s favour, the Panel reminded itself of the mitigating factor that was cited at the fitness to practise hearing, namely her admission of dishonesty to her employer and the possibility that she may have been subject to some sickness or other domestic pressures.

22. However, there were also significant aggravating features.  This was a case of dishonesty, involving prolonged and repeated lies about the mental ill health of a family member to both the Registrant’s employer and her professional colleagues. There was no evidence of remediation or engagement.  There was no indication in the last two years that she had re-engaged with her profession or with her regulator, or that she had any wish to do so, nor has she updated her contact details with the HCPC.   

23. The Panel would have expected more engagement from a Registrant who wished to return to the profession.  The Panel was unimpressed that she had neither attended the review hearing nor responded to the previous invitation to provide updated information about her level of insight and work experience.  

24. The Panel had considered that taking no action or imposing a Caution Order would not sufficiently reflect the gravity of the original dishonesty, which amounted to a repeated course of lies to her employer to justify her absence from work.  

25. A Conditions of Practice Order is not workable because she is not working as a Radiographer. The Panel was unable to formulate practical conditions of practice that would enable the Registrant to return to practice with the necessary levels of scrutiny and support, because there was no information about whether she wished to return to the profession.   There could not be such an order without engagement in the regulatory process or a commitment to return to work.   In any event, conditions could not be formulated to address the dishonesty that was proved in this case.

26. The Registrant has been subject to a Suspension Order for one year and she has not re-engaged with her profession or her regulator, despite encouragement to do so from the original panel.   The Panel considered whether she should be given another chance to re-engage with her profession if the Suspension Order were extended. In addition to the continued lack of engagement there was no evidence to give the Panel any encouragement that she retained any interest in her profession, or that she would be likely to engage with her regulator in the future. 

27. The Panel reminded itself of the case of Parkinson v NMC (2010) EWHC 1898 (Admin) in which it was noted that a Registrant may have scant chance of persuading a Panel to avoid the ultimate sanction in a case of dishonesty if she has not attended the hearing or otherwise engaged in the regulatory process.

28. The Panel then considered the HCPC submission that there was no evidence that the present position would change and that they should consider the sanction of Striking-Off.  The Panel found force in that submission.   The Registrant’s failure to engage in the process was long standing and she has not updated her regulator with her contact details.


29. The Panel noted that the sanction of Striking-Off was not considered necessary or proportionate “at this stage” at the last hearing. On that occasion, the then Panel expressed some hope that the Registrant might wish to return to work, but there is no evidence of any such re-engagement of any kind in the last 12 months.  She was given an opportunity to re-engage, but she has not taken it.

30. The Panel is mindful that Striking-Off is a serious sanction of last resort. The Panel considers that this is an appropriate and proportionate sanction for the protection of the public and for the maintenance of public confidence in the profession, bearing in mind the gravity of the original dishonesty, the paucity of evidence of insight, and the total lack of engagement with the HCPC in the last two years. The Panel also bears in mind the need for the expeditious and fair disposal of cases.

Order

Order: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mrs Julie A Taylor from the Register upon the expiry of the existing order.


This order will come into effect on 11 August 2016.

Notes

Right of Appeal:


You may appeal to the appropriate court against the decision of the Panel and the order it has made against you.  The appropriate court is the High Court in England and Wales.


Under Articles 30(10) and 38 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, an appeal must be made to the court not more than 28 days after the date when this notice is served on you. 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mrs Julie A Taylor

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
11/07/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off