Mrs Noorus Khan

Profession: Biomedical scientist

Registration Number: BS62107

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 01/03/2016 End: 12:00 01/03/2016

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Conditions of Practice

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Allegation

Allegations

 

(as found proven at the final hearing)

 

During the course of your employment with North Bristol NHS Trust as a Band 5 Biomedical Scientist between July 2008 and 12 December 2012:

 

1.     You did not demonstrate basic laboratory skills and knowledge, including:

 

a)     In April 2012 during assessment of your preparation of a standard solution;

b)     during assessments on:

 

i) 28 June 2012; and/or

ii) 5 July 2012.

 

3.  You did not demonstrate appropriate interpretative skills, including in April 2012

during an assessment of your interpretation of abnormal results in core analytes.

 

4.  You did not demonstrate effective organisational skills.

 

5.  You required a high level of supervision

 

6.  The matters described in paragraphs 1 - 5 constitute a lack of competence.

 

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

Finding

Preliminary matters:

Service

1. On the available documents the Panel was satisfied that proper notification of this hearing had been given which was confirmed by the Registrant’s attendance.

2. Mrs Khan started work with the North Bristol NHS Trust in July 2008 as a Band 5 Biomedical Scientist. This was her first post following qualification. Following a period of maternity leave commencing in February 2009, she returned to work on a part time basis.

3. In September 2011, AB, the newly appointed Laboratory Manager, identified concerns relating to the Registrant's practice. This led initially to an informal meeting being arranged between the Registrant and her Section Lead. Subsequently a performance improvement plan was put into place from the end of September 2011.

4. The first stage of a formal capability process was started in November 2011 when a review of the performance improvement plan identified a lack of satisfactory progress up to that date. Under the formal capability process, a revised personal improvement plan was set. Recognising a break down in the relationship between the Registrant and her Section Head, it was decided that the Registrant would move to a different section of the laboratory to complete the revised personal improvement plan.

5. Reviews of this revised personal improvement plan in late February 2012 and mid-April 2012 identified inconsistent progress and continuing concerns. It was agreed that a number of Senior Biomedical Scientists would be asked to assess the Registrant's practice by undertaking a series of theoretical and practical tests. These assessments took place during June and July 2012.

6. The review of the results of the assessments undertaken, initially deferred to allow information about the Registrant's health to be received, was held on 1 October 2012, when it was decided that Stage Three of the capability process should be commenced. A capability hearing was scheduled for 13 December 2012, but the Registrant resigned from her post before it was due to take place.

7. The original Panel concluded that the facts found proved at the Final Hearing amounted to a lack of competence and that the Registrant's fitness to practise was consequently impaired by reason of that lack of competence.

8. The Registrant did not attend the Final Hearing, although she had sent in written submissions. The original Panel concluded:
'It is clear from the Panel's findings that Mrs Khan's fitness to practise was impaired from the period 2011 to 2012 when the relevant events occurred. The issue to be decided by the Panel, however, is whether the past lack of competence is currently impairing Mrs Khan's fitness to practise. The conclusion of the Panel is that her fitness to practise is currently impaired.

The reason for this finding is that there is no evidence that Mrs Khan's practice would now be any different to that demonstrated in the past. In particular, in advancing her case Mrs Khan has not addressed any of the performance issues that were highlighted in the capability review process, choosing to contend that they were motivated by management desire to reduce costs and staffing. It follows that the Panel cannot conclude that Mrs Khan has any insight into her shortcomings or has remediated them.'

9. The Registrant also did not attend the first review hearing on 4 March 2015. That first reviewing Panel concluded:

'The Registrant has not engaged with the Council and had not produced any evidence to demonstrate remediation of or insight into her lack of competence. She has not produced any of the material that was identified by the Panel as being helpful on review. In the absence of any evidence of remediation or insight the Panel concluded that the considerations that operated in March 2014 are still valid and as a consequence her fitness to practise remains impaired by reason of lack of competence.'

Decision
10. This is the second 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. That order was first reviewed on 4 March 2015, and a Suspension Order for a further period of 12 months was imposed.

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

12. The Panel considered the submissions of Mr Chan, on behalf of the HCPC, who submitted that the Registrant remains impaired and that a further period of restriction is the appropriate and proportionate response.

13. The Panel considered the written and oral evidence of the Registrant. She hoped that she could give evidence to the Panel that she is now more confident within the work place. She said that she had reflected on herself and on her future and knew what she had to do to in order to try to return to practise as a Biomedical Scientist. She also said that she had overcome the difficulties in her personal life which had contributed to her previous problems and she had implemented coping strategies.

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

15. The panel exercised its own independent judgment in determining whether the Registrant's fitness to practise remains impaired. It kept in mind the need to protect the public, to maintain public confidence in the profession, and to uphold proper standards of conduct and performance within the profession.

16. The Panel took into account that the Registrant has re-engaged with the HCPC. On 5 November 2015 she wrote to the HCPC to explain that her circumstances had changed and that in 2014 she had started a new job as a Healthcare Scientist Support Worker for Public Health England in Bristol. She explained that she was keen to fully cooperate with the HCPC with a view to returning to the Register, although her field was now microbiology rather than biochemistry.

17. On 15 February 2016 she emailed the HCPC to provide written evidence in support of today's review hearing.  These included her own statement, and that of her employer’s, training certificates, competency sheets and annual appraisals with her current employer.

18. The Registrant also attended today's second review hearing, and gave evidence under oath as to her current personal and employment circumstances, her reflections and her intention to ultimately return to practise as a Biomedical Scientist.

19. The Panel was impressed by the evidence that the Registrant gave. It accepted the challenging personal issues which affected her at the time. It took into account that she accepted that she had been a risk to patients and had also been a risk to damaging the reputation of the profession.

20. The Panel was of the view that the Registrant had sufficient insight into her previous shortcomings: she was no longer seeking to blame anyone and fully accepted her own failings. She effectively accepted that she remained impaired, although was working hard to resolve that.

21. The Panel was of the view that the failures in the Registrant's practice were remediable, and that she was working hard to remediate her practice within the confines of her Suspension Order, in particular in the areas of preparation of reagents dilution. She was now working in Virology and observing and learning from the practices of Biomedical Scientists.

22. The Panel was of the view that although the Registrant had made significant progress, she has not yet been able to fully remediate her practice. Although she is working within a laboratory at Public Health England as a Healthcare Scientist Support Worker, the Panel noted that she had not worked as a Biomedical Scientist for nearly 4 years. As such the Panel concluded that her fitness to practise currently remains impaired.

23. 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.

24. 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.

25. The Panel recognised that due to the length of time which the Registrant had been out of registered practice, as part of her return to practice, she would have to undertake workplace assessments. The Panel anticipate that such ongoing assessments would potentially be able to run alongside any Conditions of Practice order.

26. The Panel considered that a Conditions of Practice order would address the level of risk that the Registrant still potentially posed, whilst she continued to fully remediate her practice. It considered that there were conditions which were appropriate, workable and enforceable in respect of those identified risks.

27. The Panel determined that the order should be for a period of 12 months, which would give the Registrant time to both obtain employment as a Biomedical Scientist and to work for a sufficient period in that employment in order to demonstrate her competence.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to annotate the HCPC Register to show that, for a period of 12 months, on expiry of the current order Mrs Khan must comply with the following conditions of practice:

1. If you carry out work which requires registration with the HCPC as a Biomedical Scientist, you must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a workplace supervisor, registered by the HCPC as a Biomedical Scientist and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within 14 days of obtaining a post, or if you are already holding such a post, within 14 days of receiving this decision.

2. You must not carry out Preparation of Standard Solutions used for testing unless directly supervised, until such time a Biomedical Scientist, registered with the HCPC has assessed you as competent.

3. You must work with your workplace supervisor to formulate a Personal Development Plan designed to address the following areas of your practice
• Organisational skills
• Interpretative skills.

4. Within 28 days of obtaining a post, or if you are already holding such a post, within 14 days of receiving this decision, you must forward a copy of your Personal Development Plan to the HCPC.

5. You must provide a report from your workplace supervisor to the HCPC, before the next review of this order, that attests to your ability to practise safely as a Biomedical Scientist.

6. You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:

A. Any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work;

B. Any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with  ( at the time of application) and

C. Any prospective employer ( at the time of your application)

 

Notes

This Order will be reviewed on or before it's expiry date.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mrs Noorus Khan

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
03/03/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
01/03/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice