Mr Andrew Daniel Brown

Profession: Physiotherapist

Registration Number: PH70229

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 13:00 01/03/2016 End: 16:00 01/03/2016

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

Allegation:

During the course of your employment as a Physiotherapist with the William Merritt Centre between 14 April 2011 to 18 September 2012:

1.     Not proved;

2.     Not proved;

3.     You did not complete driving assessments within the expected timeframe of 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

4.     Not proved;

5.     You spoke to colleagues in a rude and aggressive manner.

6.     Not proved;

7.     The matters described in paragraph 1 to 6 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

8.     By reason of that misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters:

Service

1. The Panel was satisfied on the documentary evidence provided that the Registrant, Mr Andrew Daniel Brown, had been given proper notice of this review hearing in accordance with the Rules. Notice of this hearing was sent by first class post to his address on the Register by letter dated 26 January 2016. The notice contained the relevant required particulars.

Proceeding in Absence

2. The Panel heard the application from Ms Fulcher to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.

3. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who advised that the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant was one that must be exercised with the utmost care and caution.

4. Having considered the circumstances the Panel determined to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The reasons are as follows:

  Service of the appropriate notice of this hearing has been properly effected.

  The Registrant has sent a letter to the HCPC, stating that he is unable to attend the hearing, but enclosing documents in support of his case. However, he has not provided reasons why he is unable to attend.

  The Registrant has not requested an adjournment, nor would the Panel suppose that an adjournment would result in his future attendance.

  There is a public interest in proceeding and the present review is mandatory.

  In all the circumstances the Panel was of the view that the Registrant has chosen not to attend.

Background

5. The Registrant is a qualified Physiotherapist. He worked for the William Merrit Disabled Living Centre (WMDLC) in Leeds from 2009 until his resignation in April 2014. He worked in the Medical Fitness to Drive Assessments Team as a Band 6 Driver Assessor.

6. The role of a Driver Assessor is to assess the impact of a medical condition on a person's ability to operate a car safely.

7. The Registrant at the Final Hearing on 4 March 2015 faced a number of issues regarding his clinical skills, as well as his attitude towards and interaction with work colleagues. The evidence was that the Registrant was often seen to be rude and aggressive to his colleagues, and one colleague had found his attitude to be threatening towards her.

8. The original panel found misconduct in relation only to this Particular: speaking to colleagues in a rude and aggressive manner.

9. The original panel found that the Registrant's fitness to practise was impaired on the ground of misconduct for the following reasons:

'There was not evidence before the Panel of any evidence of remediation, nor of engagement by Mr Brown or insight into his shortcomings.

The Panel did not find that there were any issues regarding the safety of service users. However, it was satisfied that there was a need to uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour in the physiotherapist profession and that an informed member of the public would expect there to be a finding of impairment in respect of the misconduct found in this case'.

10. That panel then considered what sanction or outcome was appropriate. That panel decided to impose a Suspension Order for 12 months saying it was:

 '...to mark the nature and gravity of the case and is sufficient to maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process'.

Decision

11. This is the first mandatory review of a Suspension Order of 12 months, which was originally imposed at the final hearing on 4 March 2014, to come into effect 28 days later.

12. This Panel is reviewing the Suspension Order pursuant to Article 30(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 (consolidated text).

13. The Panel considered the submissions of Ms Fulcher, on behalf of the HCPC, who submitted that the Registrant remains impaired. She said that the Registrant had written to the HCPC on 9 February 2016 expressing a wish to voluntarily remove himself from the Register. She submitted that the Panel could impose a further period of suspension for 6 months to allow the exploration of the issue of voluntary removal. She said that if the Panel was not minded to do that, then all sanctions were available to the Panel today, including strike-off.

14. The Panel considered the written material of the Registrant.

15. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor

16. The Panel was of the view that the Registrant had not provided information to demonstrate that he had gained insight into his misconduct in relation to his rude and aggressive interactions with his work colleagues. Although he had provided some information regarding his health, the Panel was of the view that this did not address the question of his insight.

17. The Registrant had also not provided any information to demonstrate to the Panel that he had remediated his behaviour towards colleagues. In those circumstances, the Panel could not be reassured that he would not behave in a similar way in the future.

18. The Registrant had not engaged with the HCPC in respect of the Final hearing in March 2015. He has recently, started to engage with the HCPC by virtue of his letter of 9 February 2016, although this was with a view to seeking voluntary removal from the Register. The Registrant had now been out of practice for some time, and in all the circumstances, the Panel concluded that his fitness to practise remains currently impaired.

19. Having concluded that the Registrant's current fitness to practise remained impaired, the Panel went on to consider what would be the appropriate, proportionate and sufficient sanction, or other outcome in this case, in order to protect the public and also meet the public interest.

20. The Panel had regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy and considered the sanctions in ascending order of severity. The Panel was aware that the purpose of a sanction is not to be punitive but to protect members of the public and to safeguard the public interest, which includes upholding standards within the profession, together with maintaining public confidence in the profession and its regulatory process.

21. The Panel also had regard to the written wishes of the Registrant to explore voluntary removal from the Register.

22. The Panel determined to extend the Suspension Order for a period of 6 months. Such an order would allow the Registrant to further engage with the HCPC to explore the possibility of voluntarily removal from the Register. At the same time it would meet the public interest and ensure that he did not have the opportunity to repeat the misconduct.

Order

 Order:  The Registrar is directed to extend the duration of the Suspension Order for a further 6 months from the expiry of the current Order.

Notes

This order will be reviewed on or before its expiry.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Andrew Daniel Brown

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
31/08/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
01/03/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended