Miss Tracey E Daniel
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(As found proved by a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee at the Substantive Hearing on 25 June 2015)
During the course of your employment as Biomedical Scientist with the Isle of Wight NHS Trust you:
1. Attended work under the influence of alcohol:
a. On 3 January 2012;
b. On 9 January 2012;
c. On 6 June 2012.
2. The matters set out in paragraph 1a to 1c above constitute misconduct.
3. By reason of that misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.
1. The Notice of today’s hearing was sent to the Registrant at her address as it appears in the register on 23 May 2016 by first class post. The Notice contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”) require that a Notice of Hearing must contain the above information and be sent to the Registrant at her address not less than 28 days before the date of the hearing. The Panel is satisfied that Notice of today’s hearing has been properly served in accordance with the Rules.
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
2. The Panel then went on to consider whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. In doing so, it considered the submissions of the Presenting Officer for the HCPC. The Registrant has made no response to the Notice of today’s hearing.
3. The Presenting Officer submitted that under Rule 11 of the Rules the HCPC is seeking that the Panel proceed in the absence of the Registrant. She submitted that the Registrant has not sought an adjournment. She submitted that the Panel can be satisfied that the Registrant’s absence today is voluntary and she has waived her right to attend and/or to be represented. An adjournment would serve no useful purpose and there was a public interest in this matter being dealt with expeditiously.
4. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised that if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing then the Panel has the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He reminded the Panel that it should exercise that discretion with care. The Legal Assessor referred the Panel to the HCPC Guidance Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and to the recent case of GMC v Adeogba  EWCA Civ 62. This case makes clear that the first question the Panel should ask is whether all reasonable efforts have been made to serve the practitioner with notice. Thereafter, if the Panel is satisfied that proper notice has been given, the discretion whether or not to proceed must be exercised having regard to all the circumstances of which the Panel is aware with fairness to the practitioner being a prime consideration, but fairness to the HCPC and the interests of the public also taken into account.
5. The Panel agreed to proceed in the Registrant’s absence as it is satisfied that it is both in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interest to do so. In reaching this decision, the Panel has noted there has been no request for an adjournment. It balanced fairness to the Registrant with fairness to the HCPC and the public interest. It is of the view that the Registrant has voluntarily absented herself and no useful purpose would be served by adjourning the hearing. The Panel has also taken account of the fact that this is a mandatory review. The Panel weighed its responsibilities for public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case with the Registrant’s right to be present at the hearing. In these circumstances the Panel is satisfied that it is appropriate to proceed in her absence.
6. The Registrant commenced employment at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust (the Trust) in January 1982, following a period of work experience. She began working at the Trust as a Trainee and became a Junior Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer (MLSO) in 1984. The Registrant subsequently qualified as a Junior MLSO and obtained state registration in 1986. This is the equivalent of a Band 6 Biomedical Scientist which she became after the various transitions of the profession from 1986 to date. The Registrant worked in the Medical Microbiology Department at the Trust.
7. On 3 January 2012 it was reported by several members of staff that the Registrant had presented for work in an unfit state. On 9 January 2012 similar concerns were noted by HA, Technical Head of the Microbiology Department. HA discussed the concerns with the Registrant on 9 January 2012 and she was sent home from work. A fact finding meeting was scheduled to take place on 10 January 2012 but the Registrant did not attend work on this date.
8. In view of the concerns in relation to the Registrant's conduct on 3 January 2012 and 9 January 2012, it was determined that the Trust would initiate the informal stage of the capability procedure. An informal meeting was held on 9 May 2012 and objectives were put in place for the Registrant. On 6 June 2012, the Registrant presented for work in an unfit state. A meeting was held with the Registrant on this date, following which she was sent home as she was deemed to be unfit to remain at work.
9. On 18 June 2012, a fact finding meeting and an informal capability meeting were held with the Registrant. It was determined on this date that the Trust would be progressing to Stage 1 of the formal capability procedure. This involved further objectives being put in place for the Registrant. On 22 November 2012, the Registrant was issued with a formal written warning due to her failure to meet her objectives regarding her attendance at work. On 19 December 2012, a review meeting was held and it was determined that the Registrant would be referred to Stage 2 of the formal capability procedure.
10. On 23 April 2013, a capability meeting was held. It was determined that the Registrant would be referred to a Stage 3 Capability Hearing due to on-going concerns about whether she would be in a position to return safely back to work. The Capability Hearing was held on 4 June 2013. The Registrant did not attend the hearing in person but she was represented. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Registrant was dismissed from her position at the Trust on the grounds of capability. The matter was subsequently reported to the HCPC.
11. The Presenting Officer advised that the current Suspension Order expires on 23 July 2016. She referred the Panel to the decision of the Panel at the final hearing. It had suggested the sort of information that may be useful for a Reviewing Panel. The HCPC has not heard from the Registrant and she has not engaged at all with the regulatory process. The Presenting Officer submitted that the Panel should consider whether the Registrant has maintained her knowledge, demonstrated insight or whether she would repeat the issues found proven at the final hearing. She referred the Panel to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy, and the need to balance the duty to protect the public with the interests of Registrant. She confirmed that no information has been provided by the Registrant.
12. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He reminded the Panel that its purpose today was to conduct a comprehensive appraisal of the Registrant to determine if she is fit to return to unrestricted practice. Its role is not to conduct a rehearing of the allegations nor is it to go behind the previous findings. He advised that in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgment and its determination based on the evidence before it.
13. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that if it determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired all the options under Article 30 of the 2001 Order could be exercised by the Panel. He advised the Panel that it should bear in mind the principles of fairness and proportionality and have regard to the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy. He reminded the Panel that any order that it makes under Article 30 should not be punitive in purpose, and that it should be the least restrictive order that would suffice to protect the public and/or is otherwise in the public interest.
Decision on Impairment
14. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel took into consideration all the documentation before it and the submissions of the Presenting Officer and determined that there is nothing upon which the Panel can judge the level of insight the Registrant has, if any, into her failings nor assess the steps she has taken to remedy her practice. Accordingly, the Panel has determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.
Decision on Sanction
15. The Panel then went on to consider what action, if any, it should take in light of its finding of current impairment. In doing so, it had careful regard to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy. The Panel is concerned that the Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC to any extent. The Panel first considered whether it would be appropriate to take no further action and to allow the current order to lapse at its expiry. The Panel is of the view, given the seriousness of allegations found proved and the lack of any evidence of insight and remediation by the Registrant, that it would not be appropriate to allow the order to lapse. Similarly, as to whether a caution order would be appropriate, the Panel concluded that such an order would not be sufficient to address the misconduct found proven and neither would it be in the public interest.
16. The Panel considered whether a Conditions of Practice Order would be an appropriate order in this case. However, it determined that in the absence of any information about the Registrant’s current circumstances, a Conditions of Practice Order would be not be appropriate, realistic or workable.
17. The Panel then considered a Suspension Order. It has carefully considered whether extending the current Suspension Order would be proportionate and appropriate. The Panel is concerned that the Registrant has never engaged with these proceedings and has not provided any information to the Panel, despite the suggestions made by the previous Panel at the final hearing. In the circumstances, the Panel considers that an extension of the existing Suspension Order would serve no useful purpose given the Registrant’s total lack of engagement over the period of 12 months since the order was made and that there is no indication that she will engage in the future.
18. The Panel considered Striking Off the Registrant. The Panel is concerned to note the continuing lack of engagement by the Registrant. It notes that there is no evidence of any insight nor remorse by the Registrant. Significantly, the Panel note that, despite clear and helpful suggestions from the Panel at the final hearing, in the 12 month period of suspension the Registrant has provided nothing to the Panel to indicate any remediation or any interest in returning to practice. No information has been provided by the Registrant to show whether, or how, she is keeping her knowledge current and relevant, no reflective piece has been provided and there are no testimonials or up to date medical evidence. In all the circumstances the Panel is concerned that the Registrant has shown an inability or unwillingness to resolve matters. It has accordingly concluded that the appropriate and proportionate sanction is a Striking Off Order.
The Order is imposed with immediate effect.
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.
History of Hearings for Miss Tracey E Daniel
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|23/06/2016||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Struck off|