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On 18 July 2014 at Lincoln Crown Court you were convicted of:
1. Theft (from the person of another) x 9.
2. By reason of your conviction(s) as set out at paragraph 1 your fitness to practise as a Paramedic is impaired
Service and Proceeding in Absence
1. Miss Favell has not attended nor is she represented at this hearing. The Panel was satisfied that Miss Favell had been properly served with notice of the hearing.
2. Ms Williams, on behalf of the HCPC, made an application for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and applied the principles in the HCPC Practice Note on “Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant.” The Panel noted Miss Favell had returned the response proforma indicating that she should not be attending the hearing or be represented at it. She has not applied for an adjournment of today’s hearing. The Panel was satisfied that she had voluntarily absented herself and had waived her right to attend. The Panel considered that the Miss Favell would be unlikely to attend at a future date if the hearing were to be adjourned and that no useful purpose would be served by an adjournment. It was in the public interest that the allegations be heard and determined without further delay. In all the circumstances, the Panel determined that the hearing should proceed in the absence of Miss Favell.
Application to amend the Allegation
3. Ms Williams made an application to amend the date in the allegation from 18 July 2014 to 26 June 2014. The reason being that 18 July was the date of sentence not conviction. Miss Favell had been informed by letter on 29 February 2016 of the amendment application. The Panel was satisfied that no injustice would be caused by the amendment and agreed to it being made.
Application for part of the hearing to be in private.
4. Ms Williams made an application for those parts of the hearing which dealt with Miss Favell’s health to be heard in private. The Panel agreed with this course of action.
5. Miss Favell is a registered paramedic and on 1 September 2013 she commenced employment with G4S Forensic and Medical Services as a Health Care Professional (HCP). HCPs deal with medical issues of persons detained in police custody and Miss Favell worked at police custody suites throughout Lincolnshire.
6. HCPs are authorised to prescribe certain drugs to detained persons and these include the controlled drugs dihydrocodeine and diazepam. G4S staff noticed in September 2013 that quantities of these drugs were missing and an investigation was commenced.
7. During the course of the investigation it was established that there were discrepancies in the records of drugs administered by Miss Favell which meant that in some cases it had been recorded that detained persons had received drugs when they had not.
8. On 21 January 2014 Miss Favell was arrested and she was interviewed by the police. In her first interview she denied theft of any drugs. However, in a subsequent interview she replied “no comment”.
9. Miss Favell was charged with 9 counts of theft of drugs from police custody suites. The thefts took place over the period from 1 September 2013 and 25 January 2014 and involved 514 dihydrocodeine tablets and 21 diazepam tablets valued at £2650.
10. On 26 June 2014 Miss Favell pleaded guilty to the thefts and was sentenced on each count to six months imprisonment to run concurrently, suspended for 18 months, an unpaid work order for 60 hours and a six month drug rehabilitation requirement.
Decision on Facts and Grounds
11. The Panel has seen the Certificate of Conviction from Lincoln Crown Court and noted that it is the name Tracey Brooks.
12. The Panel has noted that on her application for renewal of registration dated 11 August 2013 Miss Favell recorded in the “Updated Information” section that her surname had changed to Brookes. The HCPC requested Miss Favell to provide further documentation in order that her request could be processed, however she did not provide this information. The Panel also noted that in various correspondence with the HCPC Miss Favell did not dispute that she had been convicted.
13. The Panel is therefore satisfied that the Certificate of Conviction relates to Miss Favell and it is satisfied that she was convicted and that this amounts to the relevant ground.
Decision on Impairment
14. The Panel noted that the Miss Favell had not provided any detailed response to the allegation, information about her current circumstances, either personal or work-related, nor has she produced any references or testimonials.
15. The Panel took into account the transcript of the Sentencing Hearing at the Crown Court on 18 July 2014, which contained information about the circumstances relating to the offences of theft and the Judge’s sentencing remarks.
16. The Panel took into account the submissions of Ms Williams. The Panel applied the guidance contained in the HCPC Practice Notes on “Finding that Fitness to Practise is Impaired” and “Conviction and Caution Allegations” and it accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.
17. Miss Favell’s thefts of controlled drugs were committed over a period of some five months whilst she was employed to provide healthcare to persons in police custody, and her attempts to cover up her thefts put service users at risk by falsifying medical records.
18. The Panel considers the Miss Favell’s convictions which were offences of dishonesty were in breach of Standard 3 of the HCPC’s Standards of conduct, performance and ethics which states that “You must keep high standards of personal conduct” and Standard 13 which states that “You must behave with honesty and integrity and make sure your behaviour does not damage the public’s confidence in you or your profession”.
19. In the absence of any information about Miss Favell’s current circumstances the Panel is unable to assess whether she has addressed any of the issues raised by her convictions. In particular, the Panel does not know whether she has successfully completed the drug rehabilitation order imposed by the court. It has no evidence of any remorse or insight and cannot rule out a repetition of similar behaviour if she found herself in a similar situation.
20. Furthermore, the Panel considers that the gravity of Miss Favell’s offences is such that public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made in this case. For these reasons the Panel has determined that Miss Favell’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of her conviction.
Decision on Sanction
21. The Panel has taken full account of the submissions made by Ms Williams. It has accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.
22. In coming to its own independent decision as to sanction, the Panel took into account all the evidence.
23. In deciding what sanction to impose, if any, the Panel has reminded itself that the purpose of sanction is not to be punitive but to protect service users and to act in the public interest, although there may be a punitive effect. The Panel has also taken into account the principle of proportionality, weighing the interests of the public with those of a registrant. It has also taken into account the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy.
24. The Panel has identified the following aggravating factors:
• No evidence of insight or remorse
• Large number of drugs stolen
• Total value of drugs stolen was £2650
• Dishonesty occurred over a period of five months
• Falsification of medical records to cover up her dishonesty
• The falsification of medical records had the potential to put service users at risk
• Failed to engage in a constructive way with the HCPC
25. The Panel has identified the following mitigating factors:
• Previous good character
• Did admit to her health issues
• Pled guilty at court
26. In view of the nature of the matter that gave rise to the finding of impairment it would not be appropriate to conclude the case without taking any action, to arrange mediation, to impose a caution or a conditions of practice order as these would not sufficiently address the public interest.
27. The Panel then considered a suspension order the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy which states:
“Suspension should be considered where the Panel considers that a caution or conditions of practice would provide insufficient public protection or where the allegation is of a serious nature but unlikely to be repeated and, thus, striking off is not merited.”
28. The Panel has already stated that it cannot rule out repetition of similar behaviour, and it has therefore concluded that a suspension order would be insufficient to protect service users and the public interest.
29. The Panel has no evidence that she has addressed her health issue.
30. Miss Favell’s offences bring the profession into disrepute and her attempts to cover up her offending put service users at risk. In all the circumstances the Panel has concluded that the only appropriate order is one of Striking Off. Although the order will prevent Miss Favell from practising as a paramedic the Panel has concluded that the public interest far outweighs Miss Favell’s interests.
History of Hearings for Tracy Favell
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|04/05/2016||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Struck off|